Skip to main content

Full text of "Out of debt, out of danger"

See other formats


NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



3 3433 08234533 5 



HOME BOOKS. 

BY COUSIN ALICE. 




"\ . n 




The Debating Society. p 106. 



OUT OF DEBT, 



OUT OF DANGER. 



BY 

ac, COUSIN ALICE.; - *L 

} 



NEW YORK: 
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 

346 & 343 BROADWAY. 
186*?. 



. 
987574A 

ND 

>ATION8 
B .*9 L 



ENTBKED according to Act of Congress, in the ycir 1S55, by 
D. APPLETON & Co., 

In the Clerk'e Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New 

York. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. PAGE 

I. THE FAMILY GATHERING, . . .9 

II. NEW-YEAR'S DAY, . ... 23 

III. THE BESETTING SIN, . . . .34 

IV. THE JOURNEY, .... 49 
V. SCHOOL LIFE, . . . . .61 

VI. EVIL COMMUNICATIONS, ... 77 

VII. THE LOAN, . . . . . .89 

VIII. THE DEBATING SOCIETY, . . . 106 

IX. THE TEMPTATION, . . . .116 

X. CONCEALMENT, . . . .131 

XI. A TRUE FRIEND, . . . . .148 

XII. FAMILY DISCUSSIONS, . . . .162 

XIII. NEWS FROM HOME, . . . .174 

XIV. THE CRISIS, ..... 189 
XV. CASTLES IN THE AIR, .... 202 

XVI. A HARD LESSON, .... 215 

XVII. THE HOMESTEAD, . , . ,236 



THE SIXTH HOME BOOK. 

" So it's not a ' Juvenile,' after all," some one said, 
who asked the title of the new home book. 

" Not such very little juveniles as we have enter- 
tained in our study," said Cousin Alice. " School 
girls and boys." 

" But boys and girls never get in debt," persisted 
our o-ood little friend, who had never dreamed of such 

O ' 

a thing in her day. 

" There are more ways than one of getting in debt, 
I suppose you know," said Cousin Alice, going on 
with her bouquet, laying a tea rose beside the heliotrope 
in mignonette, for this conversation was in the little 
parlor of Locust Cottage. " And as for children, why, 
they may have the disposition, and show the lack of 
principle earlier than you think for." 



8 PREFACE. 

" Great Oaks from little acorns grow," said our 
friend, pleasantly. 

" Precisely," said Cousin Alice, " if you had taken 
the cankered branch from that Ami Vibert rose at 

first " 

" I should not have lost all my blossoms, I dare 

say ; and so, Good-bye." 

" Good-bye, for the present only, I hope," said 

COUSIN ALICE. 
LOCUST COTTAGE, AUG., 1855. 



OUT OF DEBT, OUT OF DANGER. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE FAMILY GATHERING. 

As one by one the cheerful group 

In order take their place, 
Mamma beside the hissing urn, 

Presides with gentle grace. 

HOUSEHOLD BALLADS. 

" WHAT a terrible noise those children have been 
making all the morning ! I declare they are 
perfect little torments, it was impossible to 
sleep ! " 

" Oh, don't be putting on airs, Joe," returned 
master Tom Bleeker to this elegant and sisterly 
expression of feeling. 

" No airs in the case," retorted Miss Jose- 
phine, hugging her pretty little self in her scarlet 
sacque. " It's a cold, uncomfortable morning, 



, . 



10 OUT OF DEBT, 

if it is New- Year's Day ; and I should think you 
might poke that lump of coal, and let us have 
a little more fire. I don't believe there's a bit j 
in the furnace ; my room's like a barn." 

"Poke it yourself," said Tom again, not stir- 
ring' an inch from his comfortable seat, his fa- 
ther's own especial lounging chair. " Girls 
always want so much waiting on ! ' 

" What an affectionate pair ! ' somebody 
said in a very much amused tone. "Go on with 
the conversation, young people ; don't stop on my 
account, pray." 

Tom sprang up, abashed, to offer the chair to 
his father, proving by the movement that he was 
the possessor of considerable agility, which was 
also shown in his tall, well-grown figure ; as man- 
ly a lad of fourteen as one could wish to see. 

Both the children had a strong resemblance to 
their father, as he came and stood between them, 
on the hearth-rug. A gentlemanly, good-natured 
person he seemed, by no means old, and ar- 
rayed in a remarkably handsome dressing-gown, 
the tassel twirled in his white well shaped hands 
as he stood with his back to the fire. 

" Go on," he said, again turning half way to 
Tom, as he patted Josephine on the shoulder. 

" They have thought better of it," said an 



OUT OF DANGER. 11 

equally pleasant voice, as a lady, Mrs Bleeker 
herself, came from the next room. . 

There was a reproof in the tone, though it was 
so kindly, which Mr. Bleeker's laughing cheek 
had not conveyed. Tom especially looked 
ashamed of himself, as he wished his mother 
good morning. 

" Oh, it's New- Year's Day ; we must make 
allowances," said Mr. Bleeker, unfolding the 
Herald. " Steamer in, I see. Let them have 
their own way for once in their lives, poor 
things." 

Mrs. Bleeker, as a good wife, did not care to 
argue the point before her children, but as a good 
mother she knew it was best never to lay aside 
wholesome restrictions. So she asked Tom to 
ring for breakfast, showing him that he was to 
make himself useful ; and commissioned Jose- 
phine to go to the nursery, and bring the children 
down, as they were all to come to the table that 
morning. It was an errand the young lady did 
not much fancy in her present mood ; and she 
did not receive the shout of " wish you happy 
New- Year ! wish you happy New- Year ! ' ' which 
greeted her entrance, quite as graciously as she 
might have done. 

" You can all come to breakfast. There, don't 



12 OUT OF DEBT, 

tear the house down, Peter ; oh, my apron, take 
care ! Kate*! don't hang on to me so." 

" Won't you speak to Nannie, Miss Jo- 
sephine ?" said the civil nurse-maid, holding up 
a bright, healthy-looking baby. " So it was 
abused , and shut up with its little lovely self, 
it was ; an' every body going down to papa. 
Keener ! keener ! keener ! ' and the crowing, 
kicking baby was tossed towards her elder sister, 
with such a loving, bright little smile, that even 
Miss Josephine in the dignity of her thirteen 
years, and one term at boarding school, was 
beguiled into a little romp with her, and felt 
the better for it, as she went down stairs again. 

The whole party in the dining-room were in 
the highest spirits, for besides New- Year's and 
breakfasting down stairs, which did not happen 
every day, they had caught glimpses of various 
packages and parcels arranged on the piano in 
the next room. 

" Me next, Oily ! " pleaded the shy Lucy, 
made bold for once in her life by the excitement 
of the moment. 

The Bleekers were "a large family," as their 
friends often said, wondering Mrs. Bleeker kept 
her senses, with so many children about her. 
Lucy, holding up her birds-eye dinner apron, 



OUT OF DANGER. 13 

was five years old ! Oily, who had just settled 
the boisterous Kate and noisy Peter, on im- 
promptu high chairs manufactured of music 
books, was scarcely ten ; yet she was as moth- 
erly almost to the younger ones, as Mrs. Bleeker 
herself. Every body liked Oily, Olive by de- 
sert, yet she was not pretty, or clever, as Jos- 
ephine had always been. Mr. Bleeker called 
her " Hurnpty-Dumpty," half the time, which 
she did not mind in the least, but rather liked ; 
as he never did so when not in good humor. 
Her square, stout little figure, in green merino 
dress, and black silk apron, was seen up stairs 
and down stairs, bustling about at every-body's 
service ; while Josephine rocked away, book in 
hand, perfectly oblivious of all but self-evident 
duties. 

Mrs. Bleeker certainly needed her active 
little aide-de-camp, to keep the table in order. 
Mr. Bleeker, in high good humor, was for help- 
ing the children to every thing they wanted ; 
New- Year's day being the excuse again. It was 
Olive, who substituted hominy for the oysters 
that were passed to Kate, and dusted Peter's 
soft-boiled egg, with the bottom of the pepper- 
box. Lucy, afraid to urge her claims, would 
have gone hungry, in the midst of plenty, at 



14 OUT OF DEBT, 

least long enough to get heart-broken, and so 
spoil it all when it did come, if Olive's quick 
gray eyes had not spied the empty plate and 
quivering lip. 

Meantime Josephine eat on in undisturbed 
enjoyment, of fish, flesh, and fowl within her 
reach, only stopping to protect her scarlet sacque 
from the inroads of Peter's spoon on one side, 
and Kate's hominy and milk on the other. 

For a while at least, no one attempted to 
quell the strife of tongues, so suddenly let loose, 
in the usually peaceful dining-room. 

" Dear me> Katie, how tipsy you pass your 
plate," remarked Peter, having scraped the bot- 
tom of the egg glass, until it was almost as clean 
as when it came from the china closet. 

" There ! all over my lap ! ' exclaimed the 
unfortunate Joe. 

" Then you ought to have passed it for her ! ' 
responded Master Tom, who felt very virtuous 
himself that moment, buttering a second slice 
of bread for Lucy. " Lazy folks take the most 
pains ! dont they I say, Lucy di Lammer- 



moor/ : 



" My name isn't Anna More," said the indig- 
nant little one, appealing to her mother, " is it, 
mamma ? My name is Lucy Barnard Bleeker. 



OUT OF DANGER. 15 

I'm five years old next March ! ' proceeded she, 
with rather more spirit than usual, confident 
that she knew this fact at least. 

" Well done, little one, " said Mr. Bleek- 
er, leaning over Torn to the sugar bowl, and 
bowling a lump, by way of reward, down the 
table ; which notice from her father so aston- 
ished Miss " Lucy Barnard," that she was 
hushed forthwith, and for the rest of the break- 
fast. 

" What a pretty cap mamma's got on, Peter ! 
Mamma, what makes you wear caps to break- 
fast ? You don't wear them any other time." 

" I know ! " answered the urchin, before Mrs. 
Bleeker could offer any satisfactory explanation 
to Katie's inquiring mind. 

" Well, why ? ' said Kate, in the most pro- 
vokingly incredulous tone ; as much as to in- 
quire, " what do boys know about caps ? ' 

" Because she'd take cold, leaving off her 
night-cap so suddenly ! ' shouted the young 
gentleman, his face growing very red, with the 
feeling that may-be he was not right after all, 
and every body would laugh at him. 

" At our school," began Josephine, desiring 
to give her mother still further particulars of 
that wonderful place ; but Tom's voice was loud- 



16 OUT OF DEBT, 

er still, and " you ought to have seen us boys, ' 
was all Mrs. Bleeker could make out above the din. 

" Peter had tongue twice ! ' remonstrated 
Kate. 

"You don't need any at all," was Mr. Bleek- 
er' s answer, as he supplied the offered plate lib- 
erally. 

" Well, Lucy has eaten all the butter oft', 
and left the bread ! ' 

" It's not Lucy's bread at all. Stop, Torn ; 
she doesn't get butter," said Olive, with author- 
ity. 

'' She shall, if she wants it, to-day at any 
rate." Mr. Bleeker sent a slice to the sober lit- 
tle thing, that had been buttered to suit himself. 

" Please not, papa/' urged Mrs. Bleeker, at 
this new breach of nursery discipline. 

" Oh, do let the children enjoy themselves." 

" Not at the expense of a sick day to-mor- 
row," said Mrs. Bleeker, pleasantly. "No, my 
pet, butter does not agree with Lucy, don't you 
recollect ? ' 

" Mamma, can I have a cup of coffee, just this 
once ? " asked Peter, emboldened by his father's 
remark, and not stopping to notice the prohibi- 
tory law enforced. But Mrs. Bleeker had corne 

V 

to the conclusion that every body had about 



OUT OF DANGER. 17 

breakfast enough, and rang to have it removed 
accordingly. 

" Hurrah ! now for the things ! ' shouted 
Peter. 

" I hope and trust," said Katie, famous for 
her use of grown-up words and phrases, a that 
I shall get a fur tippet/ 3 

" I want a watch ! " said the aspiring Peter. 
" Tom, have you got a watch ? ' 

" No, indeed, I wish I had ! all the boys 
have watches. What have you set your heart 
upon, Joe ? ' 

"Lots of things a gold pencil for one, and 
a new journal, a silk apron, or a bracelet ; Cle- 
mentina* had a splendid one on her birthday. I 
should think I might begin to wear jewelry now. 
There conie the doors open. Oh what quanti- 
ties of parcels ! How you do tear about, chil- 
dren ! '"' 

" Number one ! ' called out Mr. Bleeker, 
from the piano, and handing a very significant 
box to Master Tom, at the same time. 

" Number two ! ' and Josephine's eager 
hands received a similar mysterious pasteboard 
enclosure, while Mrs. Bleeker added her offering. 

No one was forgotten, not even Eliza, the 
good-natured nurse, who had brought the crow- 



18 OUT OF DEBT, 

ing, happy baby, for her present, and Susan, 
the cook, wiping her hands on her apron, though 
they were clean as hands could be, before she 
took the new mousseline de laine dress that fell 
to her share. 

Peter sprang a huge watchman's rattle, and 
blew a pretty good blast on a miniature bugle 
at the same time. Katie held up her apron for 
more, incredulous that such a big pile of things 
could be disposed of in so short a time. 

"And, mamma, what did you get, mam- 
ma ? " asked Oily, more than satisfied with her 
own share, and finding time to exclaim with 
all the rest over theirs. 

"Let us see, first, what mamma has for 
me/' said Mr. Bleeker, pausing with his hand 
on the very last package, and his face quite 
radiant with thinking of the great surprise and 
pleasure in store for his wife. " Sensible to the 
last degree ! Only look, Joe, what a gift for a 
woman of taste like your mother ; half a dozen 
handkerchiefs/' 

" But she hemmed them beautifully, her 
own self; she would not even let me touch 
them/' said Olive, feeling very much aggrieved 
that her mother's gift, which had taken all her 
leisure moments for a week, was not properly 



OUT OF DANGER. 19 

appreciated. " And see, papa's name in the 
corner ; we marked them last night, didn't we, 
mamma. I mean I brought the hot iron, and 
held the ink." 

" They are very nice indeed, really very 
fine," said her papa, in answer to this eager 
appeal. " Mamma's stitches are always nicely 
set. I shall have to wear one to-day, and she 
must wear my gift too. There, my dear, what 
do you think of that?" and he threw over her 
shoulders a rich India scarf, as she received his 
proffered kiss of acknowledgment for the hand- 
kerchiefs. Certainly there was a wide difference 
between the two gifts. 

It may have been that thought which 
flushed Mrs. Bleeker's face, as she unconsciously 
gathered the rich scarf into graceful folds. 
Josephine, who began even thus early to under- 
stand the value of a cashmere, wondered that 
her mother received so costly a gift so quietly. 
Her father was piqued as he noticed it, and 
said, as if hurt by his wife's coldness, 

" Doesn't it please you, Ellen ? " 

"It is very, exquisitely beautiful," she 
could not conceal a little womanly pride in the 
possession, of a real India scarf, " but ' 

" Oh, no < huts/ " interrupted Mr. Bleeker. 



20 OUT OF DEBT, 

quickly. " If you like it, wear it that's all ; 
if not, I dare say Stewart will take it back 
again." 

His tone was very different from the good- 
natured bantering he had used all the morning, 
and Josephine thought " father had a right to 
be cross/' as she kissed him very affectionately 
for her long-coveted gold pencil. 

A little shadow it did not seem as if it 
had never been there before came over Mrs. 
Bleeker's face ; but she only folded the scarf 
very exactly in its original folds, and returned 
it to the curious silken box in which it had 
come. Olive, standing nearest to her, heard a 
little sigh, but she spoke just as pleasantly a 
moment after. No one seemed to remember it, 
but Olive afterwards saw her mother go up to 
their papa, standing then with his back to the 
fire-place, and placing her hand on his shoulder, 
look up into his eyes a minute as she sometimes 
looked into hers when she had been doing wrong. 
Olive would rather she would scold any time. 

" You know what I mean," her mamma 
said, very quietly. 

" I know you are the dearest and best wife 
in the world," he said, kissing her cheek ; and 
Olive, who had felt her newly-acquired gray 



OUT OF DANGER. 21 

squirrel nauff as nothing in the balance of her 
mother's unhappiness, stole away quite relieved, 
and coaxed the children back to the nursery, 
pretending that she was " little boy blue " and 
they her sheep, as she sounded Peter's bugle 
behind them. 

" I've a great mind to take Tom with me," 
said Mr. Bleeker, as he tied his neckhandker- 
chief in an elegant bow, an hour after. " Tom ! 
where are you, Tom ? here, I propose being 
bothered with you this morning/' 

" To make calls ? 0, please do, papa ; 
there's my new cap and coat, you know." 

" Tom is a true Bleeker," said his father 
again, as the boy darted away to refresh his 
toilette. How do you like this vest, my dear ? 
Mr. Bleeker's New- Year's present to himself. 
St. Leger considers it one of the handsomest he 
has made up this year." 

" It is in perfect taste," and Mrs. Bleeker 
dashed one of the new handkerchiefs with the 
faintest possible touch of Jean Marie's Cologne, 
from a quaint flask, proclaiming ft to be genuine. 
" And you have a new cane, too, I see." 

" Yes, isn't that worth having ! I forgot 
to show it to you. The handle is carved from 
a solid agate. I told St. Leger I did not need 



22 O U T O F D E B T , 

it, and he would have to wait for his money, but 
he insisted on my having it. Where are my 
gloves a fresh pair of Alexandres, if you please, 
Kate. Now look your prettiest ; your dress will 
suit you, I hope. Where's Tom ? ' 

" Torn ! " shouted Mr. Bleeker on the stairs, 
and " Tom ! ' called Josephine twice, at the 
door of his room, before the young gentleman 
made his appearance, assuming his jauntiest 
air, and pulling out the tip of his handkerchief 
in relief upon his dark coat, as he had seen his 
father do. 

" Here comes the young coxcomb ! Make 
my compliments to your visitors, Ellen ; " and 
Tom followed his father into the handsome 
sleigh awaiting them at the door. 



OUT OF DANGER. 23 



CHAPTER II. 

NEW- YEAR'S DAY. 

" And girls, nowadays, imagine themselves women before they leave 
the school-room." 

JOSEPHINE thought her mother needlessly strict, 
because she would not allow her to sit in the 
parlor, and see company. " If Tom could go 
out with his father, she did not see why she 
was not old enough to be down stairs. There 
was not such a great difference in their ages !" 

She hung about the borders of the " En- 
chanted Ground " all the morning, restless and 
discontented. She could not set herself steadily 
about any thing. 

First she watched her mother dress, examin- 
ing, and remarking upon every article. 

" Oh, what a pretty handkerchief, mamma ? 
Did I ever see it before ? Why don't you put 
your hair into a French twist ; I'm sure I could 



24 OUT OF DEBT, 

do it for you if you would let me ? Won't you 
put on but one bracelet ? I'm sure if I had 
three bracelets I should wear them all. Is this 
grandmother's hair, or aunt Lucy's ? Did you 
have a gold pencil when you were a little girl, 
mamma ? " until Mrs. Bleeker, dressing in 
haste, was obliged to say " My dear child 
you are disarranging every thing you really 
must let my things alone, or I shall have to send 
you out of the room." 

So she amused herself at the window a little 
while, until she saw her mother take a silk dress 
from the wardrobe, and lay it across a chair in 
readiness. 

" Why, mamma ! I thought you were going 
to have a new dress to wear to-day ? I am sure 
papa said ' your new dress,' and I have seen 
that a hundred times." 

"Not quite; what is the fault with it, 
Josephine ? It is fresh, and a color that your 
papa likes, and by no means old-fashioned." 

" Well, I'm sure papa said a new one. It's 
pretty enough and then, there's the scarf. 
May I get it out, mamma ? ' 

" Stop, stop," Mrs. Bleeker was obliged to 
say more quickly than she generally allowed her- 
self to speak, for Josephine, pulling up the box 



OUT OF DANGER. 25 

cover, would have had it unfolded in another 
second. " I'm not going to wear it ; and it is 
very difficult to get it back in the same folds. 
I should not have time for it now." 

b ' Not wear papa's present ! when it's so 
lovely too ! Oh, please let me show you how nice 
it will look over that gray silk mayn't I ? 
please/' 

" There's a ring/' -said Mrs. Bleeker, to 
Eliza, who was chambermaid as well as nurse. 
" See that Ann is dressed to go to the door," 
and the box was put on to an upper shelf in the 
wardrobe, and Mrs. Bleeker hurried down stairs 
without more ado. 

i Mamma is so cross, and unaccountable/' 
thought the discomfited Josephine, thus left to 
Eliza's society ; " I think papa is a great deal 
the nicest. I'm glad I'm not Oily, to have to 
tend the baby while Eliza makes the beds. 
Well, here's a splendid chance to try and do my 
hair as I saw that fashion plate, hand-glass and 
all ; " so Josephine brought brushes, and hair 
pins, and spent an hour very industriously in 
trying to dress her hair after a French fashion 
plate. 

Of course she did not succeed, not under- 
standing the secret of securing it firmly, and 



26 OUT OF DEBT, 

the heavy braids would tumble down, until she 
lost her temper, and tossed the hand-glass on the 
bed, obliged to be content with the old way after 
all. 

By this time the street was filled with car- 
riages and sleighs, and gentlemen on foot, all 
very eager, and in a great hurry, getting in each 
other's way, and consulting visiting lists, as they 
ran up the steps of the opposite houses, and pul- 
led the bells, or ran down and off again as if they 
had more to accomplish than they knew how to 
get through with. 

Every time their own bell rang, Josephine 
flew to the stairs, and leaned over the banisters, 
so that it was a wonder that she had not broken 
her neck before the morning was over. Some- 
times she saw gentlemen pulling up their gloves, 
and settling their collars before the little glass in 
the hat stand, or Ann passing through the hall 
with a fresh supply of cake in the silver basket, 
or clean cups on a tray, and at noon a plate 
was sent up to each of them, Olive and Joseph- 
ine, with a selection from the lunch table in the 
back parlor, at which all the visitors were in- 
vited to help themselves. 

Josephine called Olive, and helped her in the 



OUT OF DANGER . 27 

most patronizing way, to one of these well-filled 
plates. 

" And there's nuts, and raisins to come, 
Ann says. So we'll settle ourselves at the win- 
dow, so that we can eat and talk, and watch 
the people at the same time. This is very nice 
cold turkey ; I like the white meat, don't you ?' 

" No, I believe I like a drumstick as well 
as any thing, and I admire ham sandwich. 
Have you got one ? How nice it must be to 
pay calls on New- Year's day, and be able to help 
yourself every where. But I don't know but 
that it's nicer after all to stay at home, with a 
whole table full of things. I wonder if mamma 
eats a little bit between every call ? Have you 
been down, Josephine ? ' 

" No," said her sister discontentedly. u I 
should think I might, though. Mother's so par- 
ticular ! Clementina Jones sees calls, and has 
ever since she can remember. She says all the 
gentlemen notice her, and praise her. I wish 
you could see her, Oily. She's perfectly lovely ! " 

" Has she got long ringlets all round ? " in- 
quired Olive, pausing from her vigorous attack on 
the drumstick, " with large blue eyes ? ' 

To Olive's unsophisticated taste, her great 
wax doll was still the type of perfect beauty. 



28 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Why no not exactly, she papers it some- 
times, and then her nose- -I tell you, as a great 
secret, Olive, her nose does turn up. But 
she has such elegant dresses, and lots of pocket 
money, arid plays so splendidly, better than some 
of the real old girls. Miss Anthon always calls 
on her when there's company, and we are de- 
voted friends/' 

"Oh!" said Olive, simply. " The plate 
did not hold so much, did it, after all ? Here 
comes the nuts though. Who else do you like, 
Joe ? " 

" Why there's Miss Fanshaw. She's one of 

i/ 

the real old girls, in the fourth year, but I love 
her dearly, she's so amiable. Why she must be 
all of sixteen, I should say." 

" How very old/' said Olive, " quite grown 
up. I do believe this is a Philcepena ! Can 
you hear it rattle, Joe ? I mean to ask Tom to 
eat it with me, that is, if you don't mind. I 
suppose she's the best scholar/' 

" Oh no, she isn't ! Ann Brown's the best 
scholar. Isn't it an ugly name ! and she's as 
plain as oh, as any thing you ever saw. And 
only think, Olive she sweeps the school-rooms, 
and halls, to pay her bills ! Did you ever hear 
any thing like that ! Clementina never speaks 



OUT OF DANGER. 29 

to her, and says she shouldn't wonder if her 
father took her away when he comes to know 
it." 

" Well, I like to sweep, may-be she does." 

" Oh, you don't understand ! We have to 
sweep our own rooms, which is very mean, I must 
say, but we leave the dust all at the door, and 
Ann has to see to it. No, she's poor, child ! 
and has to work for her living. She's going to 
be a teacher. Give me two or three raisins just 
to finish my nuts, that's a good girl ; I don't 
think I had quite as many as you to begin 
with." 

The little girls were still for a few minutes, 
searching industriously among the empty shells 
to see if they could not find one that had been 
passed over. Josephine was successful, and broke 
out again presently with, 

" Don't you think mamma is dreadfully 
strict, Olive ? I like papa a great deal the 
best." 

" Why," said Olive bluntly, " no, I don't," 

" He does not see every little thing, and hear 
every little word so. And then he makes such 
elegant presents, and mamma such little ones. 
Just think ! only a needle-book ! ' 

" Let me tell you, sister," said Olive in eager 



30 OUT OF DEBT, 

vindication, " mother has hardly oeen out of 
the house for a month, getting our New- Year's 
presents ready. I'm sure you wrote home that 
you'd lost your needle- book, and I should have 
made vou one, but I could not sew nice enough/ 

*- j O 

" When papa came at examination," con- 
tinued Josephine, " every body admired him so 
much. I wish vou could see Clementina's father ! 

\j 

He's nothing to compare with ours ! He laughs 
so loud, and he chucks the girls under their 
chins ! Every body said he was so good-natured 
and amiable. Papa I mean, not Mr. Jones." 

" Well," said Olive, smoothing the few re- 
maining shells out of her apron, and rising re- 
luctantly, " I suppose I must go and see to 
the children, while Eliza gets her dinner. I 
wish you would come too." 

" Oh, don't ask me. No, I can't. It's so 
1 poky,' up in the nursery, and Peter and Kate 
make such a racket.' I want to finish ' Langley 
Dale/ Did I ever tell you about our dialogues 
in any of my letters ? No, I didn't, I believe. 
Well put me in mind to-night," and Josephine 
settled herself on the lounge with her new book, 
while overhead Olive taxed her invention to keep 
the riotous children in order. 

Mrs. Bleeker had a great many calls that 



OUT U F DANGER. 31 

day, for her husband was fond of society, and 
liked to have her keep up a large circle of ac- 
quaintances. There was not much variety in 
the conversation, it is true, old Mr. Gleason's 
visit seemed as an example for all. 

First, he said, " it was very cold/' then, that 
" it was very bright overhead;" then that he had 
met Mr. Bleeker and Tom, who were looking re- 
markably well. Then he took up his hat, and 
laid it down to take a cup of coffee from Ann's 
tray, which he held about half a minute, and set 
down on the mantel-piece without tasting. Af- 
ter which he took up his hat again, and said, 
" Mrs. Bleeker was looking very well; what a 
fine old Knickerbocker custom this was, of mak- 
ing New- Year's calls/' and " it was getting late ' ; 
as he bowed himself out of the parlor. 

Mrs. Bleeker left alone, walked to the win- 
dow, and saw him helped into his sleigh, and 
almost . covered with Buffalo robes by the 
black driver. She wondered, as she stood there, 
whether it was such a fine old custom after all, 
paying New- Year's calls. She knew that many 
people had been going about all day, drinking 
much more wine than was good for them, and 
others were spending much more money than 



32 OUT OF DEBT, 

they could afford, on their dress, and the re- 
freshment table. 

" And how many gay compliments have 
heen paid and listened to, with a heavy heart, 
if the truth was known," she said to herself, as 
she noticed the short winter's day was already 
closing in. 

The shadow of the morning came back to 
Mrs. Bleeker's smooth, open brow. But what 
could she have to make her unhappy ? Up 
stairs her healthful merry children were playing, 
around her was every comfort, and many 
luxuries. The pictures, the statuettes, the " won* 
derful nothings," with which the mantel and 
bookcases were strewn, had been especial gifts 
to her from an affectionate, indulgent husband. 
More than one lady welcoming the gay, hand- 
some Mr. Bleeker, as a guest, had called her 
an enviable woman, that very day. 

You could see that she had been beautiful. 

,/ 

as she leaned against the curtain, its color send- 
in an unwonted glow over her cheek, but her 

O o j 

eyes and brow seen in the wintry twilight, had a 
careworn, troubled look, as of some ever present 
anxiety. 

But there were quick steps in the hall, Tom 
unceremoniously brushing past his father, and 



OUT OF DANGER. 



Mr. Bleeker coining in hat in hand, with great 
mock decorum and seriousness to make a formal 
call. The little ones privileged again, rushed 
down in a body to tea, and a gay evening ended 
the first day of the good year 1850. 

2* 






34 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTER III. 

T HE BESETTING SIN. 

This is the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jack built. 

" Debt, however cautiously it be offered, is the cup of a siren, and the 
wine, spiced and delicious though it be an eating poison." 

DOUGLAS JEKROLU. 

" You don't care for company/' said Mr. Bleeker, 
kicking off his boots on the hearth rug, and call- 
ing Ann to come and take them away. He had 
been proposing a supper party to his wife, of only 
a few friends. Mrs. Bleeker did not seem to 
fancy it. 

" Yes, sometimes ; but there will be a great 
deal to do on Thursday, getting the children off 
to school again ; and if we hire a waiter,- 

" What's that ! " interrupted Mr. Bleeker, 
catching sight of a yellow envelope on the man- 
tel piece, tucked between the tea bell and the 
clock, as if it was to be mailed, or had just ar- 
rived. " Who have you had a letter from ? 
Two of them, are they ? " 



OUT OF DANGER. 35 

Mrs. Bleeker went on with her sewing. She 
knew the storm would come soon enough, and 
she did not wish to hasten it. She had been 
looking forward to it in a kind of nervous trepi- 
dation all day, and now her heart beat very fast, 
and her hand shook, though she was only too 
well accustomed to such things. 

Her husband tore off the wrappers, and un- 
folded the enclosures in ominous silence. 

" Blake ! well I must say he's in a hurry for 
his money. This is only the 4th. What have 
we had there lately, Kate ? I did not know we 
owed him any thing." 

" You forget the new tea set." 

" Yes, and half of it's broken by this time, 
I dare say. You have the most careless serv- 
ants about this house, that I ever saw. ' Half 
a dozen goblets,' why, we had two dozen only 
last year !- ' one decanter, two fruit-dishes ! ' 
What do you think the sum total is ? ' and he 
dashed his hand upon the mantel violently. 

" I have no idea," said Mrs. Bleeker, gently. 
" You sent nearly every thing home yourself, 
Richard. Those goblets are the Bohemians you 
took a fancy to, I suppose." 

" Oh, yes, it's always me ! ' retorted her 
husband. W T here was the elegant, the amiable 



36 OUT OF DEBT, 

Mr. Bleeker, now ? "I suppose this bill of 
Stewart's is all my making. Two hundred and 
seventy-five dollars, thirty-nine cents ! I hope 
he may see it to-morrow ! Bills, bills, bills, for 
a month now ! That's all the good one gets of 
New-Years ; nothing but bills ! ' 

" It would have been twenty dollars more, if 
I had bought the dress you wished me to have 
for New-Year's day. 1 have tried to be very 
economical this winter. I had no idea the 
amount was so great. May I take it a mo- 
ment ? There may be some mistake." 

He tossed it over his shoulder into her lap 
without turning round, and crossed his arms 
moodily behind him. 

It was as he had said, but the items ex- 
plained it all. 

"One Honiton cape, $18." Mr. Bleeker 

had given it to her on her birthday. 

" One cashmere scarf, $75." 

The bill was folded, and restored to its en- 
velope without a word. 

" There's a dozen or more yet to come, I 
suppose," said Mr. Bleeker, presently. 

" There's Mr. Cook the grocer, and Brook's 
shoe bill, and St. Leger." 

" That's my business," growled Mr. Bleeker. 
" Who else ? " 



OUT OF DANGER. 37 

" I can't tell, exactly, but there are always 
more or less dropping in, that one has forgotten, 
besides the regular house bills." 

" Oh, that you may be sure of, and larger 
than you expect, always." Mr. Bleeker snatched 
up the poker, and dealt a vigorous blow to a 
great black lump of Liverpool coal, which ap- 
peared as if aimed at some of his annoying 
creditors. 

" That is true," Mrs. Bleeker said in a firm, 
quiet tone, as if it was best to look on the worst 
at once. " We should do without a great many 
little things if we had to pay the money at once, 
but it's so easy to get a thing charged." 

" I don't care about being lectured to-night, 
Mrs. Bleeker." 

" Dear Richard ! " 

" When were the girls paid ? ' said Mr. 
Bleeker, after an ugly pause, while two misty 
tears had sprung to the eyes bent over little 
Kate's new dress, which were not allowed to fall 
however, but had to content themselves with re- 
turning to their hiding-place, sent by Mrs. 
Bleeker's resolve to bear this expected trial, in 
all patience and gentleness. 

" We owe the cook, and Ann, for three 
months ; I gave Eliza a month's wages, not 
10- ROT), so she has but twelve* dollars to avt. : 

t" / (* 



38 OUT OF DEBT, 



(.: rr 



Three times eight. Twenty-four dollars 
to the cook. Twenty-one to Ann, and twelve 
did you say ? there's fifty-seven to start 
with ! " 

Yet only the night before, when Mr. Bleeker 
had found his wife wearied out with her many 
cares, he had proposed having a regular chamber- 
maid and seamstress ; quite insisted upon it, 
because he wanted to read to her, and she had 
the children to put to sleep. 

" 0, Richard ! ' said his wife, suddenly 
rising, and laying her hand on his shoulder, 
as she often did when he seemed hurt and 
offended, " must, we always go on so ? ' 

" I don ; t know how to help it," he answered, 
gloomily. " It gets worse and worse, every 
year ; there are bills over from last July." 

" If you could only make me a regular al- 
lowance for the house and the children, I could 
manage much more economically. I'm sure I 
could." 

" That's all very well to talk about, Kate, 
but where is the money to come from ? I can't 
draw any more from business, no, I have to 
use my credit, it's the same as capital. It's 
no use, Kate. These people will get paid some- 
how, I suppose ; and the business ! why, let 



OUT OF DANGER. 39 

alone these drops in the bucket, I have more to 
pay down town, than most men could stagger 
under. I can't give you the money, and that's 
the end of it ; and I want you and the chil- 
dren to dress decently ; wherever else you can 
pinch, don't let it be in the table, I beg ! ' 

So that was the end of the matter for this 
night, until other bills, or the sight of the old 
ones again, should call out a fresh burst of ill- 
humor. 

It was a difficult task set for Mrs. Bleeker, 
and one she had striven faithfully to accomplish 
for many years. Things had been growing 
worse so fast lately, that she had the desperate 
hope, that they must end soon. Her whole 
time was occupied in contriving how to make 
these very bills as small as possible, while meet- 
ing Mr. Bleeker's express charge to have their 
wardrobes, and the table, abundantly supplied. 
Yet such scenes as these, constantly repeated, 
was her reward, and she knew, from many 
little things said in these moods, that her hus- 
band's business affairs must be much more in- 
volved. 

It was hard, after she had been taxing both 
strength and ingenuity to save a little towards 
quarter-day, to have Mr. Bleeker produce a 



40 OUT OF DEBT. 

cane, or bring home a picture that he fancied, 
and which cost twice the amount. When he 
had ready money, or ready credit, no man was 
more liberal and generous than Mr. Bleeker ; 
though that could not be called true generosity 
which gave his wife more pain than pleasure. 
It was not a solitary instance of selfishness, 
called by this pleasant name. 

Then there was Tom growing up a perfect 
copy of his father and how could she avert 
the effect of such an example, or tell her child 
that his father was in fault ? And Josephine 
already had many foolish and extravagant ideas. 

Certainly Mrs. Bleeker's heart that night 
was " weary and heavy laden," but she had 
long ago learned where to bring her burdens, 
that they might be lightened. But for this 
knowledge, and its daily, hourly application, she 
could not have had the quiet cheerfulness which 
every mother, and mistress of a household, must 
maintain. 

Tom began one of his endless stories about 

" us bovs' ; when he came in to tea, and found 

i/ 

his father not at all disposed to listen and laugh 
at his school-boy jokes and adventures. Jose- 
phine, whose afternoon had been profitably 
spent in promenading Broadway, and admiring 



OUT OF DANGER. 41 

shop windows, looked forward rather dolefully 
to a return of village dulness and school re- 
straints. 

" Aunt Lucy says she can't see why you 
send us to such an out-of-the-way country school. 
I met her, this afternoon, and she wanted to 
know when we were going back again. I don't 
see either, mamma. It isn't the least bit fashion- 
able." 

" I know that perfectly well, Josephine. I 
suppose your aunt would wonder still more if 
she knew that was one of the very reasons the 
school was selected/' 

" And taking care of our own rooms ! She 
says she never heard any thing like it." 

" Aunt Lucy's memory doesn't go back very 
far," said Mrs. Bleeker, playfully. 

" How ? mamma ! ' 

" Once upon a time, two little girls lived 
with their grandmother and uncle, who not only 
took care of their own rooms, but swept and 
dusted the rest of the house by turns, and knew 
very well how to dry cups and saucers." 

" But that was in old times, you know. 
People don't do such things now." 

" What kind of people ? " 

" Stuck up ! I suppose," interrupted Tom, 



42 OUT OF DEB T , 

more for the fun of teasing his sister than for 
any democratic opinions of his own. 

" Tom ! what an elegant expression ! ' said 
his mother, reprovingly. 

" Well, it spoils my hands so." 

" Spoils them ! for what ? " 

" Why, practising. You have no idea how 
my right hand has spread ! ' 

" Poor thing ! ' said Tom, again. " Only 
hear what a misfortune, papa." 

Mr. Bleeker only knew that some kind of 
a dispute was going on, and it annoyed him ; 
so he recommended Tom to " take care of his 
tea and toast, and let his sister alone." 

" If w.e were poor people," continued Jose- 
phine, in an under tone, to her mother, " there 
might he some use in it ! hut then, of course, 
we're not." 

" Why of course ? " 

" Why ? because we live in a nice house, 
and have three servants, and every thing hand- 
some in it." 

The little girl looked around the room with 
a great deal of satisfaction, as if to prove that 
what she said must he true. The gas was light- 
ed, and blazed down cheerfully on the table, 

j */ j 

with its neat china, and Sheffield tea-set, the 



OUT OF DANGER. 43 

spotless linen cloth, the silver napkin rings of 
her father arid mother. The back parlor was 
used as a dining-room, Mr. Bleeker. disliking the 

O / * O 

dull front basement, and both rooms were fur- 
nished in the ordinary style of the day, with 
curtains, and mirrors, and lounges. Of course 
there was a piano. Every house has its piano 
as much as its tea-table nowadays. 

" Dear me ! I shall be so home-sick ! ; 
sighed Miss Josephine presently. " Miss An- 
thon's parlor, the best room in the seminary, has 
nothing but an ingrain carpet, and old Venetian 
blinds ; with chairs like ours in the nursery ; 
open work seats, and they're always set so stiff 
in rows, up against the wall. And then our 
table ; it's as long as from the street to the 
back piazza ; and teachers sprinkled all along to 
keep us quiet. Why, only think ! for tea, we 
have nothing in the world but a plate of bread, 
and a plate of butter, and a plate of dried beef ; 
then a plate of bread again, so and so, and so ; 
strung along, like Peter's blocks, over the car- 
pet," 

" My ! we don't even get beef at our table," 
chimed in Tom. " One night, we had cheese ! 
You ought to have seen Charlie Spear ! He 
asked to be introduced to it ! " 



44 OUT OF DEBT, 

" And a pitcher of water at each end, and a 
tea trav in the middle for the old girls " continued 

d 

Joscj)hine ; " that's every individual thing ; and 
then if we laugh a little, and begin to have a 
good time, one of the teachers is sure to call out, 
c Young ladies ! do you know where you are ? ' 

" It's something like State prison, school is, 
isn't it ? ' said Olive, who had come down late, 
and had been silently swallowing these details, 
with her biscuit and quince marmalade. " I'm 
glad I don't have to go." 

" You ought to be, " returned her sister with 
a martyr-like air, forgetting how a little while ago 
she had been wild to be sent to boarding-school, 
and how incessantly she had teased until her 
wish was gratified. Josephine's memory was, 
like her aunt Lucy's, very good at forgetting. 

Meantime Mr. Bleeker had taken up his hat, 
and let himself out of the front door without a 
word. This moody silence and departure was by 
no means a new thing to his wife, but even Tom 
and Josephine noticed it, and looked at each 
other. 

Mrs. Bleeker was glad her husband was ab- 
sent, at Tom's next observation. 

" I say, mother ! am I going to have an 
allowance this term ? all the boys have. It 
looks so mean not to have one ! ' 



OUT OF DANGER. 45 

" Yes, every body is expected to have pocket 
money now. Don't they, Tom ? ' added Jo- 
sephine. 

" I have tried to think of every thing you need, 
both of you. You won't have much occasion 
for it." 

" Oh, I don't mean to spend mine ! ' said 
Joe. " I intend to save it." 

" I don't," said Tom, flatly. " What's the 
use of money if you can't spend it ? I don't 
see. There's always something going on. Girls 
don't need money any way ! ' 

" How many i don'ts', " said Josephine, crit- 
ically, in payment for Tom's thrust at girlish in- 
feriority. " How much come now, mother, 
how much a week ? ' pursued Tom. 

" i Mother ' again ! " interrupted Joe. " Why 
don't you say mamma ? Clementina says, no- 
body says mother now ! '' 

" You had just as many ' says ' as he had 
' don'ts,' ; ' said Olive collectedly. " Mamma gives 
me a penny a week." 

"And that is more than mamma had at 
your age. Pocket money was not thought ne- 
cessary in the clays that your aunt Lucy knew 
how to sweep. If we had a new ribbon on our 
bonnets every winter, and had them bleached in 



46 OUT OF DEBT, 

the spring, we were very grand. But I suppose 
Lucy has forgotten that too/' she added with 
a little smile. 

" Was our great- grandmother so very poor ? ' 
inquired Oily, who of all things liked to hear 
what her mother had done and said when she 
was a little girl. 

" No, not poor; only careful. She did not 
think it necessary for such little "tots" to have 
winter bonnets, and summer bonnets, and spring 
bonnets, too, for that matter. I remember she 
undertook to bleach them herself once, some 
open-work straws, that we were very proud of, 
and they were both burnt, so we wore our blue 
gingham sun-bonnets to church all summer ! ' 

" Oh, dreadful ! how did you feel ! ' said 
Josephine, pitying her mother's '' hapless child- 
hood " from the bottom of her heart. 

" I believe your aunt Lucy was very much 
distressed, but I don't think I felt at all. I was 
always certain that every body respected my 
grandmother, and uncle Peter." 

" But about my allowance/' said Tom, not 
particularly interested in open-work straw bon- 
nets. " Won't you speak to papa about it, 
please ? He promised it to me last term, but I 
suppose he forgot it, for I did not have a cent af- 
ter that you ave me was g;one.' 



OUT OF DANGER. 47 

Mrs. Bleeker remembered it. Her husband 
was very apt to make rash and liberal promises, 
fully intending at the time to fulfil them ; but, 
as he said, " he was always so hampered by some 
old account." 

The matter was of much more importance to 
Tom than he was willing to acknowledge. An- 
ticipating this large income, he had spent all his 
cash in hand, and when pencils, and library 
fines, and drawing paper came to be thought of, 
Tom had incurred debts to divers of his class- 
mates, for odd dimes and quarters, which he 
was obliged to leave unsettled on his return for 
the holidays. 

Tom intended to write to his father for a re- 
mittance first, and then he concluded to " talk 
it out," and explain the whole matter when he 
should get home. Day after day passed, but 
poor Tom's courage melted away instead of in- 
creasing, and the time did not come. That very 
night, the last but one at home, he had 
fully intended to confess his short-comings ; 
but as we have seen, Mr. Bleeker' s mood did not 
invite any such confidence. Happy would it 
have been for all parties around that bright cen- 
tre table, if Tom had owned his fault. Mrs. 
Bleeker would have given him the amount twice 



48 OUT OF DEBT, 

over, if it had been necessary to clear him, for 
she knew from what slight beoinnin^s in the 

o ~ o 

boy, come the mill-stones of debt, hung about 
the neck of harassed, anxious men. 

" 1 don't think I can promise any regular al- 
lowance/' said Mrs. Bleeker, as the little party 
broke up, " though I will see that you each have 
something in your purses. And whatever else 
you do/ 7 she added decidedly, " don't antici- 
pate your means. Better go without, than to 
get any thing charged. You never have any 
good of your money then, when it does come." 

" Yes, mamma ? ' ; said Tom meekly, taking 
up his bed-room candle, and feeling very much 
like a culprit as his mother wished him good 
night ; for one fault leads to another so surely, 
that a sense of cowardly concealment made Tom's 
pillow very hard and uncomfortable that night. 



OUT OF DANGER. 49 



CHAPTEK IV. 

THE JOURNEY. 

" Shrink not to aim the shafts of wit 
At all that's mean and narrow! 
But, oh, before you bend the bow, 
Be sure it holds the arrow ! " 

OSGOOD. 

TOM was to escort himself and Josephine back 
to Rockville, where the Seminary was situated. 
They considered themselves very important mem- 
bers of society, you may be sure, at this early in- 
dependence, when Mr. Bleeker had procured the 
checks, and the tickets, though he still stood on 
the platform to bid them good-by. 

" Take care of the checks, Torn," said his 
father, handing them in through the window, 
" and look out for your head, Joe, don't be 
stretching it out of the window every five mi- 
nutes ! r 

Tom felt equal to receiving the Bank of 
England keys in trust, just then, and Josephine 
3 



50 OUT OF DEBT, 

was too much occupied with her fellow-passengers 
to care for any dull wintry landscape. She won- 
dered if the lady in the blue veil knew that she 
was thirteen years old, and going to boarding- 
school. Then she looked at all the travelling 
dresses in the car, and decided in her own mind 
as to who were ladies, and who were not, by the 
style of them. No lady, said the Kockville code 
of gentility, ought to travel without a stone- 
colored travelling dress, gaiter boots, Highland 
shawl, barege veil, and fancy travelling basket. 
" Take care of yourselves," said Mr. Bleeker, 

i> 

again, as the steam whistle sounded, "and Tom 
I say mind those checks." With which 
general directions, and parting admonition, they 
settled themselves back comfortably on the seat, 
to talk over matters. 

" Pretty good time ! ' said master Tom, 
patronizingly, as they were jerked out of the de- 
pot. He was consulting his new silver watch for 
the hundred and fortieth time that morning. 
" I wish it had been a gold one, while the 
governor was about it." 

"Why, Tom!' ; exclaimed Josephine at 
this filial disrespect, which she had never heard 
her brother venture upon before. 

" Oh, that's what all of us boys say now." 



OUT OF DANGER. 51 

" When you are sure father is out of hear- 
ing," said Joe, brilliantly ; " you wouldn't dare to 
do it any other way. That's more of Charlie 
Spear, I suppose." 

te Well, what if it is Charlie's a first-rate 
fellow, let me tell you. I should like to room 
with him, that's all. How about the allowance, 
Joe ? " 

Somehow speaking of Charlie Spear always 
put Tom in mind of money matters. Josephine 
looked very mysterious, and shook her head. 

" What did mother give you ? come tell," 
urged Tom. 

" An account book," said Joe, " to put down 
all my expenses in." 

" So she did me ; are you going to ? I can't 
be bothered." 

" Well, 1 rather think I shall," answered 
Joe, meditatively. " Mamma has always had 
one, you know, ever since before she was married 
to papa, and she says it's an excellent plan. 
Yes, I think it must be nice to know exactly 
what you spend, and I intend to be very eco- 
nomical." 

" On five dollars ! ' said master Torn, in 
what he considered a very ironical tone. " Come, 
you might as well own up that's what I have," 



52 OUT OF DEBT, 

" You won't get any more, any way, let me 
tell you ; so you might as well make the best of 
it." 

" How do you know ? ' 

Why, because mamma gave me a regular 
talking to, when she was packing my trunk ; and 
she said, that was every cent she could spare, 
and I must make the best use of it, and that 
she shouldn't have given it to us all at once, 
only she thought we were old enough to be 
trusted, and it was time we knew the use of 
money. I have gloves to buy out of mine, and 
a new pair of overshoes, that's all I know of now." 

" Oh, well ; ' said Tom, trying to banish 
the uneasiness that this final decision of his 
mother's caused him, " when that's gone 
there's more where it came from, I know." 

" But there isn't" persisted Josephine, " at 
any rate for us ! Mamma said distinctly that I 
was not to write for any more, for she considered 
this all-sufficient ; and she was obliged to be 
very, very economical herself." 

" Pooh ! ' said Tom again, " that isn't me I 
Well, don't talk any more, child ! the cars make 
noise enough," so he relapsed into an unamiable 
silence, and left Josephine to her book, or her 
meditations. 



OUT OF DANGER. 53 

She opened her book first, a new one, in 
which she had taken the precaution to leave 
some leaves uncut, that she might have a pre- 
text to use a pretty little ivory knife Olive -had 
given her at parting. It was necessary to draw 
off her glove in order to do this, at least she 
found it so, and looked around to see if any 
one was observing her. The lady in the blue 
veil was looking at her, and as Josephine noticed 
this, her attitude became still more studied, 
and she raised her arm with what she considered 
an extremely graceful movement, to display 
her hand holding the paper cutter to the best 
advantage. Then she read a few lines, and 
glanced up again to see if she was still observed. 
This time she had the satisfaction of discover- 
ing that the lady not only noticed her, but had 
also drawn the attention of her companion, a 
very handsome man, with dark whiskers, and a 
moustache. They were decidedly the most 
stylish-looking people in the cars, and the fool- 
ish girl's cheeks glowed again, at the thought 
that they were admiring her. 

Poor child ! if she had only known that 
they were smiling at her silly affectation of 
manner, and the evident vanity in displaying 
her ungloved hand so publicly ! 



54 O U T O F D E B T , 

But she did not dream of it, and began to 
wish that her gold pencil could he changed into 
a ring to set it off to more advantage, and then 
she raised her pencil which had heen con- 
spicuously thrust into the belt of her travel- 
ling dress and marked a passage in the book 
before her, with another flourish, more ridicu- 
lous than the last. 

She did not particularly fancy that passage, 
indeed she had not read it at all, and could 
not fix her mind on the story, but went on 
wondering why her mother never allowed her to 
have presents of jewelry, of which she was par- 
ticularly fond, making her promise never even 
to borrow it of her school-mates, as girls often 
do. Josephine's grand scheme of economy 
was only to be able to purchase a gold clasp to 
a bracelet of Clementina's hair, which she 
could plait very nicety herself ; hair bracelets 
being quite the rage at Kockville. 

The morning passed rapidly in this profit- 
able manner, with scarcely a glance at the 
beautiful mountain scenery through which they 
were whirled, grand, and full of variety as it 
was, even in the depth of winter ; nor did Tom 
condescend to show the slightest animation of 
manner, until, on halting at a way station, he 



OUT OF DANGER. 55 

discovered a familiar face in the midst of a 
group on the platform. There was a very 
handsome carriage and pair, evidently belong- 
ing to them, for the servant was lifting a large 
travelling trunk from the box, under the direc- 
tion of a tall gentleman. The ladies wore 
handsome furs, and one of them was " fussing," 
as Tom called it, over a lad about his own age. 

" Oh, my dear do make him put on an 
extra overcoat ! ' she said, appealing to the 
tall gentleman, who answered abruptly, " Non- 
sense ! he won't need it in the cars/' 

" And, my dear boy, do write the very 
instant you get there ! I shan't have a quiet 
moment until I have heard, and do be careful 
about your flannels ! ' 

The tall boy in the gray overcoat and blue 
neck tie, did not seern to fancy being made the 
object of so much public maternal solicitude, 
or being kissed twice over by each of his grown- 
up sisters. 

Josephine thought his face looked familiar, 
and seeing Tom start forward and nod very 
eagerly to attract his attention, asked who it 
was. But he was saved the trouble of answer- 
ing, by the final parting, which came the next 
minute. 



56 OUT OF DEBT, 

"Now, do be careful, there's a dear boy. 
Mr. Spear do charge Charles not to expose 
himself, and not to study too hard ! ' 

" No fear of that ! " said Tom, as Master 
Charlie stumbled into the car over somebody's 
carpet bag, as ungraceful an entrance as he 
could well make ; but Josephine, who had only 
seen him at a distance before, began to admire 
him instantly, having, in the first place, heard 
very little else than his name and performances, 
from Tom, all through vacation. 

He was taller and older-looking than her 
brother, one reason that Tom felt particularly 
honored by his notice, and quoted him on all 
occasions ; and now he was in an uncomfortable 
worry until he could get a seat beside him, 
leaving Josephine in a most unceremonious 
manner. 

But it was not long, for the station at which 
they were to take a stage, was reached an hour 
after. It was a stage-sleigh that awaited them, 
the ground being covered with snow here, as in 
New York, though the roads had by no means 
the well-packed firmness of New England 
winter travelling. 

Josephine had the extreme satisfaction of 
being handed out by Charlie Spear, blue neck 



OUT OF DANGER. 57 

tie and all, but the mortification, shortly 
after, of seeing him choose a seat by the driver, 
instead of by herself and Tom, where they had 
made room for him. 

" I hope he isn't going to drive," said Jose- 
phine, in terror, as the horses, exhilarated by 
the keen air, pranced a little in starting. 

" You needn't be the least afraid if he does 
he knows every stage driver on the road. I 
wish I did, I wouldn't be poked back inhere ! ' 

If f the going," as the driver called it, 
had been a little bit better, the afternoon drive 
would have been much pleasanter than the 
smoke and closeness of the cars. There was 
just enough snow to make the country 
unpicturesque. The unpainted farm-houses 
looked blacker than ever, with the moisture 
dripping from the roofs, and banks of half- 
melted snow by the garden fences, and before 
the unused front doors. The barn-yards were 
all in a slop, the cattle drooping and muddy, 
even the geese, usually so spotless, " had on 
yesterday's white pantaloons," and the hens 
picked their way cautiously, as if afraid of 
similar splashes. 

" Oh, dear ! ' sighed Josephine, "howl do 



58 OUT OF DEBT, 

pity people that live in the country ! Nothing 
could ever tempt me to ! ' 

u Nor me either," said Tom, watching the 
farmer's sons of one particular homestead, who, 
in blue frocks, and pantaloons rolled up over 
their heavy boots, were feeding the cattle. 

Josephine did pity them from the bottom 
of her heart. To be sure, Kockville Seminary 
was in a country villiage, but then they had 
teachers and boarders from the city, and it was 
not so entirely out of the world ! Josephine 
wondered how people could exist, really settled 
down in the country for life, with no shops, 
but a village store where every thing was sold ; 
no concerts, or parties when they came to grow 
up ; and, worse than all, dressing in such a. 
plain, old-fashioned manner. It reminded her 
of what their mother had told them. 

" There's mamma, though," she said, pre- 
sently, " she was brought up in the country ! 
and Aunt Lucy." 

" Aunt Lucy hates it now though," answered 
Tom decidedly, " bad enough ! ' 

" I really believe mamma doesn't ! she's al- 
ways talking about uncle Peter." 

" What an old codger he is, though ! ' said 
Tom. 



OUT OF DANGER. 59 



" Oh Tom ! Fm sure he was very good to 



mamma/ 



" But he's an old codger for all that/' per- 
sisted Tom, who always did persist when he saw 
his sister look shocked at any of his boyish im- 
pertinence. " My ! what a shocking bad hat 
that was ! and such coat skirts ! made in the 
year one." 

" I do hope he won't pay us another visit very 
soon, I must say/' and Josephine laughed in 
spite of her quick sense of what was proper re- 
spect to so excellent a man. " I did feel so 
ashamed, when Roxy Curtis asked me if he was 
any relation of ours, that night at the Juvenile 
Concert. Don't you remember he almost cried 
when he heard all the children sing ' The 
Watcher/ and pulled out that great yellow and 
red silk handkerchief, and blew his nose so loud, 
that every body looked round ? Well, / never 
want to live in the country, and I never will ! 
That's settled ! " 

"There's the Brick!" called out Charlie 
Spear, just then turning half round on the 
coach box. Josephine was thankful she had 
not known he was driving before, or she should 
have " been in an agony," as she afterwards told 
Clementina. There was but a little way to go 
now : for " the Brick " was the large boarding- 



60 OUT OF DEBT, 

house belonging to the boy's school, the Academy, 
as it was called, and " The Seminary," to which 
Josephine was destined, though in the same 
town, and under the same government, was a 
mile nearer, quite in the village. 

Josephine began at once to collect veil, book 
and packages generally ; for, notwithstanding her 
lamentations, she was very fond of her teachers 
and schoolmates, and her heart beat quick at 
the thought of so soon seeing them all again. 
She scarcely even noticed Charlie Spear's flour- 
ishing bow from the box, as she saw her favorite 
Miss Fanshaw, and their Principal, Miss An- 
thon, standing at the door in the wintry twi- 
light ; and the sitting-room windows gleaming 
cheerily from lamp and fire. 

" The stage is in ! ' " Joe has come/' 
"' It's Miss Bleeker ! " " How dy'e do, Joe ? " 
" Welcome back again ! " sounded variously from 
the little group crowding into the hall ; for the 
term did not fairly commence until the next 
day, and there was less restraint than usual. 
The trunk was set inside of the gate. Jo- 
sephine was surrounded and carried in to the 
fire triumphantly. The great-hall door shut 
with a clang, and vacation was over to Jose- 
phine at the fireside, and Tom speeding towards 
" the Brick." 



OUT OF DANGER. 61 



CHAPTER V. 

SCHOOL LIFE. 

"The gayety, the gloom, the tasks, aims, hopes, and disappointments 
that go to make up a school-girl's life." JOURNAL OF A TEAK. 

" DID you have a nice time, Clem ? ' inquired 
Josephine, on her knees before her trunk the next 
day. 

" Splendid ! ; said her room-mate, who was 
setting the book shelves in order (C I have loads 
to tell you went every where, and saw every 
thing ! Have you seen my Dictionary lying 
round ? Oh ! you didn't know our class was to 
go into Latin Reader this term, did you ? ' 

" Latin again ! and Algebra too, I suppose, ' 
said Josephine wofully. " What in the world 
is the good of girls learning Latin ? ' 

" Dear knows ! and as for Algebra, I never 
could say the multiplication table yet, could 
you ? See, I've got one pasted into the back, for 



62 OUTOFDEBT, 

I don't stand by Miss Chamberlain now, she used 
to prompt me." 

c Capital ! why, where did you get it ? ' 

" I happened to see it on the cover of our 
Milly's old writing-book, and begged it of her. 
Many new dresses, Joe ? ' 

" Three ! ' answered Josephine in a very self- 
satisfied manner. 

" Well, I have five ; a checked silk, and two 
mousseline-de-laines, a chintz, and a plain cash- 
mere. They're made sweetly, with flowing 
sleeves, and the silk has a basque." 

" Mamma doesn't think I'm old enough to 
wear silks, and a basque ; '' said Josephine. 
" I wonder how long before she will consider me 
a young lady ? ' 

" But I have a lovely scarlet sacque, trimmed 
with black velvet ! Oh, here it is, and here are 
my new dresses ! ' 

" That puts me in mind," said Clementina, 
" Ann Brown is back again. Don't let's speak 
to her this term. She's got a black silk dress, 
such a flimsy thing I do believe it's made 
out of her mother's, or somebody's, and dyed ! ' 

Josephine winced at this speech, for her 
very best dress, a plain, pearl-colored cashmere, 
was made from one her mother had worn two 






r ;_ 




Josephine and Clementina. p. 63. 



OUT OF DANGER. 63 

winters. It was as fresh as possible, it is true, 
and prettily made quite as good as a new one, 
and even Clementina's prying eyes had not dis- 
covered its previous existence, as she held it up 
and shook it out. But Josephine imagined 
she did, and felt uncomfortable accordingly. 

" She must want to go to school more than 
I do ! ' pursued Clementina. " How do you 
like the new girls ? ; 

"I think Agnes Hadly is a great deal 
prettier than her sister. Is she going to be in 
our class ? and Miss Hill dresses her hair beau- 
tifully. Oh ! Clementina, I learned an ele- 
gant new way I'll show you by and by but 
those Miss Danas? they look very common." 

" So they are/' said Clem, " nothing in 
the .world but farmers'* daughters going to 
stay but two terms." 

" Oh/' said Josephine, diving down to the 
bottom of her trunk again, and wondering if 
Clementina had ever heard that her mother had 
been brought up on a farm. Her foolish pride 
made her sensitive and suspicious even towards 
those she called her friends. 

" Doesn't this little bit of a room look 
funny, coming from home ? ' she added, to 
change the subject as entirely as possible, 



64 OUT OF DEBT, 

" though we used to think it quite large when 
Marianne Fanshaw had it." 

" I guess you'd think so if you could see 
my room at home ! I have a Brussels carpet, 
rose-buds on a dark green ground, fancy cottage 
chairs, rosewood backs, and an elegant French 
bedstead. I do wish you could see it ! There, 
you haven't told me why your mother did not 
let you come New- Year's. We had every thing 
our own way. I did so wish for you, dear ! ' 

" Thank you, darling ! ' for, as we have 
said, these two young ladies were "devoted" 
friends, and had written to each other every 
three days through vacation, although Mrs. 
Bleeker had not thought it best to accept Mrs. 
Jones's New-Year's invitation, as she had never 
met her, and knew nothing of the family gov- 
ernment and influences. She did not think it 
would be a healthy atmosphere for her daugh- 
ter, whose natural vanity, and love of dress, 
seemed to have developed rapidly, since her 
intimacy with Miss Jones. 

" And those sweet verses," said Clementina, 
" I showed them to several, and they all said 
it sounded like Miss Landon. You must cer- 
tainly copy them in my album ! Cousin Bob 
said you know my cousin Bob is an author, 



OUT OF DANGER. 65 

that is, he has written a lovely book of travels, 
and thinks of having them published some day. 
Bob says they ought to be sent to the Lady's 
Book ; he hasn't the least doubt but Mr. Godey 
would be delighted to print them, and pay you 
ever so much." 

Josephine's face glowed again ! She was 
very proud of her talent for rhyming, but to 
think of having her verses praised by grown up 
people and printed ! that was beyond the high- 
est flight of even her vivid imagination. She 
was so absorbed in the blissful contemplation, 
that she had not noticed a gentle tap on the 
door, and now it opened softly, and a fair, gen- 
tle face, with blue eyes, and bands of golden hair 
shading a low but clear forehead, looked in. 

' Busy unpacking, are you, girls ? Don't let 
me disturb you. I only came for a peep at my 
old quarters, and to see if Joe is rested. How 
do you like it here, Clementina ? who is going 
to have my window ? ' 

c Oh ! Josephine, I'm quite willing, she likes 
trees, even when there's no leaves on, and hills, 
and sky. I'd rather have this one for I can 
see the girls go by from the classes, and all that's 
going on." 

" Come in, dear Marianne, please do ! " 



66 O U T O F D E B T , 

urged Miss Fanshaw's ardent admirer, Josephine. 
" Sit right there now, and eat some of these bon- 
bons. I saved them from New- Year's for Clem, 
but there's plenty more ; Clem has some too,- 
haven't you ? and I've a hundred things to 
tell you, and talk over." 

Miss Fanshaw, who had not been home in 
vacation, suffered herself to Jbe installed in the 
only real chair in the room, at her old window. 
It looked out upon the open country, for the 
Seminary was at the end of the village, arid only 
the garden divided it from a little common, 
bordered by pine woods, which were bending 
and sighing now, in the shrill wind that swept 
down from the hills. The room was situated at 
the end of a wing, commonly known among the 
girls as " Poverty Lane," though it was strange 
how many chose to abide there. The window 
that Clementina had chosen, opened on a piazza, 
from which stairs descended to the play-ground, 
at the back of the recitation rooms. 

It was Miss Fanshaw's last term, and she 
was to room in the main building with Miss 
Bailey, the Latin teacher. Both teachers and 
scholars loved Marianne Fanshaw ; it was not 
only for her beauty, or her sweet voice, or the 
gentle grace and dignity of her manner ; there 



OUT OF DANGER. 67 

was something beyond all this, or rather which 
tempered personal and mental graces into har- 
mony. All the younger girls, even the junior 
class, looked up to Miss Fanshaw, and thought 
it a great pleasure and honor to he ahle to do 
any thing for her. Among them all, Josephine 
was acknowledged to be her favorite ; nor was it 
a great wonder, for she was pretty, and lady- 
like, and clever with her books and pen. 

Josephine, on her part, was Miss Fanshaw's 
champion all through the school, ready to main- 
tain that she sang and played, and wrote com- 
positions " better than any one in the world." 
A wholesale assertion, which others were inclined 
to dispute. 

" I have had a great many happy hours 
here/' said Miss Fanshaw, looking around the 
room lovingly, as if every piece of furniture was 
endeared to her from old association. " I don't 
think any other room will ever be quite the 
same. I believe I know every darn in the car- 
pet, and every crack in the wall. You will have 
to be very careful of that table between the doors, 
though ! It has played me more than one 
trick." 

"Oh, is that the one that tipped over, and 
inked your examination composition ? ' asked 



68 OUT OF DEBT, 

Josephine. " We were just saying how shabby 
the furniture looked ; and this old carpet, only 
look at that great patch ! ' 

" That patch ! that's a delightful patch, 
girls ! I put it in myself, and worked a whole 
Wednesday afternoon on it ! And as for the 

/ 

table, Minnie and I mended it after that unfor- 
tunate turn over, with a hammer, and some 
nails, borrowed of Jim. It does need a new 



cover." 



" Yes, indeed," said Clementina, " I noticed 
that last term, and begged one of mamma see, 
it's scarlet and black embossed, and won't fade 
like that old cotton thing." 

" Then if I was you it does make a decided 
improvement," said Marianne, pausing to notice 
the effect, as Clementina smoothed it carefully 
over the square painted table, " if I was you, 
I should give the ' old cotton thing' to Ann 
Brown ; I dare say she would be glad of it. Her 
table has no cover at all.'' 

The little girls exchanged glances. 

" We don't mean to speak to her at all this 
term," Clementina took upon herself to answer. 
" You may give it to her, though, if you like ! I 
dare say it's as good as she has at home." 

The smile passed away from Miss Marianne's 
pleasant face. 



OUT OF DANGER. 69 

te What has she done tooffend you? ; 

" Nothing ! only I don't choose to associate 
with servant girls ! ' said Clementina, still more 
pertly, conscious that Miss Fanshaw was offended. 

" Miss Brown is too far beyond you in years, 
as well as her studies/' said Marianne gravely, 
"to be hurt by such an unkind remark from a 
little girl ; but it is not the less unladylike, 
Clementina. She does no more than I should 
do, or than it would be noble for either of you to 
do in the same position/' 

" Oh well, we never shall have to, any of us, 
so it makes no difference. Our fathers are all 
rich people ! ' 

" They may not always stay so ! and even if 
they did, so much more reason that their 
daughters should grow up ladylike, well-bred 



women/ 



" I wish we could learn some rule, just as 
we do in Latin grammar, and then stay lady- 
like always," said Josephine, who had not 
spoken before. 

" Nothing easier, dear you have learned 
it long ago, I dare say, if you only make your 
doings and sayings agree. A golden rule, 
there's a special rule in the same book about 
people who are too poor to wear ( gay clothing/ j 



70 OUT OF DEBT, 

Both of the girls looked abashed for a 
moment, Josephine particularly, for she had 
been taught more reverence for Miss Fanshaw's 
" Book of Kules," though she had not yet 
learned to walk by it, as we have seen ; and 
they were glad to hear the bell of the moni- 
tress at that moment come swinging through 
the piazza, and down the stairs, calling them 
all to the great recitation room. The monitress 
and her bell were among the hardships of school 
life, most frequently complained of by the girls. 
The bell never seemed to hold its peace. It 
roused them from that last pleasant morning 
nap, it summoned the indolent to the recita- 
tion hall at prayer time, leaving a disordered 
room to be marked by the monitress on her 
daily round. It interrupted playhours by the 
call to study, and sent them to bed before they 
were half ready to go, though half-past nine 
was quite late enough for any of them. And 
at ten the spiteful bell rang again, for the- last 
time, it is true, and then came an opening and 
shutting of doors, to see if all the lights were 
out, for that was a curfew. 

How many, half-undressed, groped and 
shivered their way into bed after it had ceased ! 
how many belated and rebellious subjects were 



OUT OF DANGER. 71 

clotted on the blank of the monitress, to be 
reprimanded before the whole school on Satur- 
day morning, when the report was read ! Tasks 
unfinished, buttons and hooks unfastened, chap- 
ters unread, were laid aside at that provoking, 
monotonous ring, never to be properly attended 
to, and finally to swell the great list of neg- 
lected duties that impeded the school-girl's 
progress, and brought her into disgrace, when 
examination day finally arrived. So much for 
a delaying the work in its season," for what 
are school-days, but a preparation for the dis- 
cipline of life, where the tasks are harder, our 
strength and ambition less, and the final award, 
without appeal ! 

Miss Anthon said something like this, 
as she welcomed them back again to school 
duties, and gave each girl her place and studies 
for the term. There was, in all, over sixty 
scholars, some few of them from Eockville, and 
not boarding at the Seminary ; of all ages, 
from the little girls in the Junior class, to the 
young ladies in the Fourth Year, just finishing 
their school days. Most of them were dressed 
very plainly, in accordance with Miss Anthon's 
known wish, for, as it was a country school, 
many of the pupils could not afford, or pro- 



72 OUT OF DEBT, 

cure, if their means had allowed of it, the 
little fineries that girls brought up in cities are 
accustomed to think indispensable. Even 
Marianne Fanshaw, seated at the head of her 
class, wore only a chintz morning dress, and 
plain linen collar. Clementina looked quite 
out of place, with a pale pink mousseline de 
laine, and Valenciennes edging around the neck 
and sleeves. 

She wore a bracelet, too, and rings innu- 
merable, some of them by no means elegant ; 
a red agate and a brown agate on the same 
hand ; but then agate rings made so much show ! 
Long blue satin ribbons tied her hair, and hung 

o / o 

streaming over her shoulders, for Clementina 
was by no means choice in the agreement of 
colors ; and did not know that plain, brown 
taffeta, the color of her hair, would be in much 
better taste, as well as more serviceable. Hair 
ribbons were another of Josephine's trials, her 
choice being confined to a black and a brown 
pair. 

Miss Anthon read all the rules of the 
school, so that there might be no excuse for 
the new comers in disobeying them. They 
were not very numerous, or very harsh, but the 
most implicit obedience was required, and their 



OUT OF DAN G E R . 73 

teacher placed duty above any prize or reward 
that could be offered to them, and said their 
own sense of what was right and wrong in 
other words, their conscience, must be a more 
rigid monitor than any she could appoint. 

Some of the girls looked eager and inter- 
ested, others scarcely listened, and fidgeted 
about in their seats. It was easy for their 
teacher to see where was the "good ground/' 
and where she was to look for thorns and briers, 
instead of fruit, in return for her careful cul- 
ture. 

There was a general buzz after dismissal, 
for there were to be no recitations that day, 
each one exclaiming over her lessons, or her 
place, very few entirely satisfied with Miss 
Anthon's judgment. 

" I should have thought I might have gone 
into Virgil/' one said, who might have done so 
if she had not neglected Caesar, the last term. 

" I heard Miss Anthon give you Pa ley/' 
said Ellen Hadley to Clementina. " It's as easy 
as knitting work/' 

" I don't think so it looks as stupid and 
hard as possible, but there's no words to look 
out, that's one comfort ! I hate Latin ! 

French is some use, everybody speaks French, 
4 



74 OUT OF DEBT, 

and I suppose I shall travel when I get through 
school, and I must have Italian on account of 
my music. Nobody sings English any more, 
mamma says ! ' 

" What a little bunch of affectation ! ' 
said Ellen Hadley, turning away. She was one 
of the " great girls/' who sometimes patronized 
the little ones, and sometimes locked the door 
upon them as " plagues ! ' 

" Yes, she's worse than ever, this term. 
By the way, Ellen, I do believe Ann has been 
studying all vacation. Miss Anthon has put 
her in our year ! ' 

" You don't sav so ! well she's to be a teacher 

ii 

you know, poor thing." 

" We don't call Miss Anthon, ' poor thing/ 
some voice near them said, 

" Oh ! are you there, Marianne ? Only think. 
Ann is to be in the fourth year. I was waiting 
for my list, when I heard Miss Anthon tell her 



so.' 



" Then we shall have to look out for the 
valedictory, that's all/' answered Miss Fanshaw 



playfully. 

" But no one was ever helped through so fast 
before. It shows great partiality, / think," 
pouted Ellen Hadley, who barely maintained her 

own j)l?icp 



OUT O F D A X G E R . 75 

" It shows that no one ever studied so hard 
before ! ' said Marianne. 

" Oh ! well, I suppose she has to thank 
goodness I don't, that's all ; I can stay five years 
at school if I like/' 

" What a privilege ! ' laughed Maria Allen, 
another of the Fourth- Year girls. " For my 
part, the sooner 1 get away the better, don't you 
say so, Marianne ? ; 

" I do," said Clementina, elbowing her way 
very unceremoniously through the taller group. 
*" Only think, Ann Brown's in your year. She 
began with us ! ' 

" She didn't like you well enough to stay, I 
suppose," said Maria Allen. 

" Nobody wanted her," retorted the forward 
child, though Ellen and Maria both had them- 
selves to blame for encouraging Clementina in 
her pertness. They laughed at her speeches, 
arid called her " a queer, clever little thing," to 
her face, and said she was " impertinent," and 
" self-conceited," to other people. 

" Miss Jones Clementina," called Miss An- 
thon from her desk, so loud that all the girls 
standing near stopped to listen, " you have 
* Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe/ 
in your box of books, I believe. I should like 



76 OUT OF DEBT, 

you to lend it to Miss Brown this term. It is 
an expensive book, I know, and I will be an- 
swerable for its careful usage." 

" Yes," said Ellen, delighted at Clementina's 
look of annoyance. " That great heavy book of 
your aunt Jane's." 

There was no help for it, as Miss Anthon 
had made the request, and Clementina would 
not use it for two years to come. It had been 
packed by mistake, in the first place. The 
Fourth- Year girls looked delighted, all but Mari- 
anne, who whispered as she passed near her, 
" Send the table cover at the same time, there's 
a good girl, you will save Ann two or three dol- 
lars by lending it to her ! ' 

Still Clementina grumbled to Josephine as 
they reached their own room, that " it was too 
bad to have to oblige that Ann Brown twice in 
one day/' and Josephine was so foolish as to 
think so too, though all they could find to dislike 
in her was, that she was plain, and poor, and 
swept the halls and school rooms in return for 
her tuition, rather than accept the provision 
made by the trustees for those who were unable 
to educate themselves. 



OUT OF DANGER. 77 



CHAPTER VI. 

EVIL COMMUNICATIONS. 

" I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it? " 

ECCLESIASTES. 

TOM, in his room at " the Brick," was also un- 
packing, though it was a very different affair 
from the orderly arrangement of shelves and 
drawers made by his sister and Clementina. 

His trunk stood in the middle of the floor, 
wide open ; and when he wanted any thing 
" he dove for it," as he informed Charlie Spear, 
who was lounging on the bed with his feet upon 
one of the posts. 

It was a single bed, for Tom roomed alone, 
an arrangement he did not much like, though 
if he could not have Charlie, he did not care 
about any one. Charlie's " Chum," as he al- 
ways called him, was " a slow, stupid muff ! ' 
that is, he always had good recitations, never 
robbed hen roosts, or melon patches, or pasted 



78 O U T O F D E B T , 

caricatures of his teachers on the chapel walls ; 
gentlemanly accomplishments to which master 
Spear was much addicted. According to his 
own story, he had been the hero of a thousand 
and one marvellous adventures and escapes. 
Certain it is, that Rockville Academy was the 
fifth school he had been sent to since he began 
to prepare for college, and he was about as ready 
to enter now, as when his name was registered 
at the first one, 

The result of Tom's various dives was dis- 
played about the room ; a jacket, with a pile of 
underclothes and a pair of boots on top, in one 
chair ; a lexicon, a cricket bat, half a large 
sponge cake, and a half-dozen clean linen collars 
on another. The table was heaped with an 
equally miscellaneous collection, and several gar- 
ments dangled by the leg or arm, over the yawn- 
ing trunk. 

" How about the allowance, Tom ? " said his 
friend again, lazily folding his arms under his 
head and raising his feet still higher. 

" All right," said Tom, knowingly. 

" Handsome come down ! eh ? ' inquired 
Master Spear. 

" A V. ! that's all ! " and the gold piece was 
displayed against one eye, then dropped into 
Tom's vest pocket again. 



O 1) T O F D A N U E K . 79 

' Oh ! ho, well, that's something like, now, 
isn't it ? a V. a month ! how did you manage, 
Tom ? " 

" Easy enough ! ' for Tom did not choose to 
correct the mistake, by acknowledging that the 
half eagle was the sum of all his receipts from 
home, for the entire term. He was not at all 
averse to borrowed plumes, and did not stop to 
mark the implied falsehood, knowing the conse- 
quence it would obtain for him among his school 
fellows. He could see that he had risen in 
Charlie Spear's estimation already. 

" Suppose we settle that little account ! ' 
he said, with some importance, as he fished up 
the grammar he had been in search of. 

" Oh ! no hurry, my dear fellow ! not the 
least ! ' returned his principal creditor, reaching 
out a hooked stick, and fishing in his turn for a 
small blank book which had tumbled out with 
the grammar, and had excited his curiosity. 

" I say, Tom, what's all this ? ' 

" I don't know," said Tom carelessly, and 
it was true that he did not, for Mrs. Bleeker 
had put it in without saying any thing to him in 
packing. It was an expense book, exactly like 
the one she had given to Josephine, ruled and 
dated. There was something written in it be- 
sides his name, on the fly leaf. 



80 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Out of debt, out of danger ! ' shouted 
Master Spear. "Well, that's a nice joke. I 
must tell Ferris, and Frank Flanders ! Let's 
begin, Tommy Goodboy ; ' and taking out his 
pencil, he began making entries, repeating them 
aloud as he did so. 

" To one slate pencil two farthings ; four 
farthings make one penny, and they're two for 
a cent, you know ! ' 

"Two leather shoe-strings one cent ; now 
for a bust I ' 

"One quart of peanuts six and a quarter." 

" Here hollo give us that ! ' said Tom, 
catching at the book, with a very red face. Of 
all things in the world, he could not bear ridi- 
cule. He had been laughed into many a plan 
he could not have been teazed or coaxed to join. 

" I ought to have put down i an apron ' in- 
stead of ' a shoe-string ! ' continued Charlie 
teazingly. 

" I say, will you give us that book ? ' shout- 
ed Tom, getting more angry and flushed every 
minute. 

" Come, corne, don't bother a fellow ! " said the 
incorrigible boy, still holding the book at arm's 
length. 

" What's all this ? " said a tutor, putting his 



OUT OF DANGER. 81 

head in at the door. " Less noise, young gentle- 
men, if you please." 

" Only lesson in book-keeping by double 
entry/'' answered Charlie, impudently, as Tom 
caught hold of the book, and tore off a cover, 
in the vain attempt to secure it. " School doesn't 
begin till to-morrow you know, Mr. Peters." 

Mr. Peters, who never liked to contend with 
Charlie Spear, shut the door, and went on his 
way down the corridor. Tom succeeded in get- 
ting the book at last, and threw it into the bot- 
tom of the trunk, with his spring clothes, that he 
did not need for some time to come ; so it was 
shut up, and pushed against the wall out of the 
way. 

" Oh, there's no use firing up ! ' called out 
Charlie, as Tom turned away after this exploit, 
still vexed and fretted ; " because this steam- 
boat don't go ahead till the bell rings ; ' which 
figurative language was meant to imply, that he 
should not move until he was ready. 

" Great dodge this," continued Master Char- 
lie, " beginning term with a holiday ! What 
are you going to do with yourself this after- 



noon 
a 



We have study hours to-night, I suppose 

you know." 

4* 



82 () U T O F D K B T , 



'But that isn't now, it's only two o'clock; 
how are you ? ' 

" Ten minutes past," said Tom, mollified at 
the opportunity to exhibit and consult his new 
watch. 

" Suppose we take a sleigh-ride ? ' proposed 
Charlie. 

" Where's the sleigh to come from ? that's 
the next thing ! ' 

" That's easy enough to find. Bill will let 
me have a cutter, and I'll drive. Suppose we 
go over to Franklin ? J 

" So far ! it's fourteen miles, isn't it ? ' 

" Why, by sand it is, but by snow it's not 
half so far. That is, we can go in half the time 



on runners.' 



" We shouldn't get back by study hours, I 

don't believe. What does Bill charge ? ' asked 
Tom, prudently. 

" Never mind the expense ; money's no object 
with a fellow who has five dollars a mouth, you 
know ! Most fellows would be precious glad of 
that a quarter. Frank Flanders now ! Suppose 
we treat him ? ' 

" Well, come on," said Tom, magnificently, 
for the half eagle was a greater sum than he 
had ever had at one time before, and seemed in- 



OUT OF DANGER. 83 



exhaustible. So they made their way to Frank 
Flanders' room, and opened the door just as he 
shut his Virgil with a bang, and started up, de- 
claring that he was ready for any thing. Frank 
was considered one of the best-natured boys in 
school ; his tasks cost hiin little labor, and he was 
always ready to help any one else. Charlie 
Spear was not slow to avail himself of it, and 
in return invited him out on all occasions, for 
Frank was not overburdened with pocket money. 

In the- lower hall they encountered Professor 
Phelps, the principal of the academy, walking 
up and down with his hands behind him, as he 
often did. " Exercising' he called it, though 
the slow pace would not have quickened his 
pulse a stroke an hour. 

ff Going to take a walk ? ' ; said he, smiling 
benevolently over his spectacles, as he paused in 
his saunter for an instant, and made way for 
them to pass. " Grlad to get back to school 
again, I suppose, Charles/' 

" Bill," as Charlie Spear familiarly called 
the landlord of the Rockville Hotel, received the 
young gentlemen with the most flattering dis- 
tinction. It was plain that Charlie Spear cared 
more for his good opinion than for Dr. Phelps' 
commendation. He drew the man aside, and 



84 OUT OF DEBT, 

whispered to him, nodding towards Tom now and 
then ; which Tom noticed, and assumed an air 
of importance accordingly. 

" Certainly sir certainly ! ' said he com- 
ing forward, " which horse, Master Spear ? Old 
Zack goes a little lame just now, and Bob's been 
out already this morning. Drove two gentlemen 
over to the Seminary, with their darters. There's 
Joe though, the gray pony, and the blue cutter, 
with plenty of buffaloes, I suppose. All right, 
gentlemen ;" with which Mr. Kelly, who was 
hostler as well as landlord, disappeared, and pre- 
sently returned with the establishment in ques- 
tion. 

The boys sprang in, Charlie sitting between 
the other two, and assuming the privileges as 
well as the office of driver. Tom remonstrated 
faintly when he found they were on the road to 
Franklin ; but Frank, who had learned his les- 
sons already, and did not care for discredit marks, 
even if they were late, told Charlie to " push 



on/ 



The road was by no means good, a mixture 
of sand and snow, with deep ruts now and then, 
over which the runners grated with divers un- 
comfortable bumps, and a harsh grating sound. 
It was dark when they reached Franklin, then 



OUT OF DANGER. 85 

the horse must rest and be fed, so study hours 
had fairly commenced before they set out on 
their return, The warm days of the thaw were 
over, a cold dismal wind swept across the empty 
meadows, and down from the barren hill-sides, 
benumbing them, wrapped as they were in the 
" plenty of buffaloes/' which consisted of two 
old robes, very well worn. Joe was by no means 
a fast horse, not in any sense of the word, and 
every mile seemed to lengthen before them. 
They tried to be very merry at first, till Charlie 
Spear had exhausted his stories, and then they 
sung and shouted, as they went through the vil- 
lages, to " astonish the natives/' which they did, 
though not exactly after the fashion they in- 
tended. They roared out, " The Battle of the 
Nile/' with exemplary patience, considering 
Frank Flanders knew nothing of time and tune, 
and was continually putting the others out of 
their reckoning. This was relieved bv the 

O v 

equally entertaining melody of " A grasshopper 
sitting on a switchery vine" Charlie Spear 
solo, Tom and Frank chorus ; then " Uncle Ned/' 

and " Rosa Lee/' were introduced variously, and 
finally they attempted a round, " Three Blind 

Mice/' which proved an entire failure, as they 
were by this time extremely tired and cold. 



86 OUT OF DEBT, 

The last mile they scarcely spoke to each other, 
and Tom especially, wished himself safe in bed 
forty times. But the longest lane has a turning, 
and the Rockville Hotel, was hailed as in sight 
at last ; just as the curfew bell of the Seminary 



rang. 



Mr. Kelly was in waiting to receive old Joe, 
and Tom was for settling up all charges forth- 
with ; Charlie Spear interposed. He already 
figured on the landlord's books, and was afraid 

o 

he would insist on an entire squaring up of 
accounts. " I'll make it all right," he called 
out to Mr. Kelly as he gave up the reins ; and 
taking Tom's arm they were very soon out 
of that individual's hearing. 

They all declared they had had " a good 
time," -" a jolly good time," -as they separated 
in the hall of the Brick. But the expression of 
Tom's face changed the instant he had entered 
his room, and locked his door. He had no 
chum as the others had to keep up the fire ; the 
stove door standing open, was choked by a log 
of wood, green at the large end, and charred at 
the other ; one of those sticks that will neither 
go out nor go in, but smoke and sputter away 
their existence in the most ungenerous and sul- 
len manner. So the room had neither warmth 



OUT OF D A N G K R . 87 

nor comfort, and the bed was half covered with 
" unpackings," which were none the better for 
being tossed off in a heap, on to the floor. 

He had smoked a cigar, which was by no 
means his first, but had made him almost as 
sick as if it was, his feet were benumbed with 
cold, his limbs were cramped by the uncom- 
fortable position he was obliged to sit in while 
holding the driver, and his throat and head 
ached with shouting and singing in the wind. 
When Tom came to think over this "jolly 
good time," he had to confess to himself, 
that he had worked very hard for amusement, 
to very little purpose ; and then followed the 
comfortable reflection, that his first day of school 
was marked by disobedience to the rule of study 
hours, unprepared lessons, debt and extrava- 
gance. Then he fell to wondering what the bill 
for old Joe would be, and tried to comfort him- 
self as he dropped into an uneasy sleep, by re- 
solving penitently that this should be the last 
time, and he would pay every body off early in 
the morning. But alas ! for Tom, this fore- 
shadowing of the empty pleasures of a gay life, 
had a pleasanter aspect with the morning sun 
streaming in, and a cheerful fire crackling and 
snapping in the stove. The good resolutions 



88 OUT OF DEBT, 

arising from the mental and bodily discomfort of 
the moment, had not been fortified with any 
strength but his own, and they melted from his 
recollection like the frost work from the window 
pane. The " Come, come, there's a good fel- 
low ! ' or " Don't back out now ! ' of Charlie 
Spear and his set, had far more influence. 



OUT OF DANGER. 89 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE LOAN. 

"Whereupon the crow opened her mouth down dropped the cheese, 
and the Fox, seizing it quickly, made off with his booty. 

FEENCH FABLES. 

THE little room at the end of Poverty Lane, 
had a very cheerful look one Saturday afternoon, 
several weeks later in the session. 

For a wonder both its occupants had learned 
Monday's lessons on Friday evening, which was 
the proper time for them, though they were 
generally crowded into the hour allowed for re- 
view on Monday morning, fretting the neglect- 
ful meanwhile, with an ever recurring sensation 
of discomfort, no matter how pleasant the pur- 
suit in which they were engaged. It was won- 
derful how many contrived to spoil the week's 
holiday after this fashion, or it would have been 

V 

wonderful if we all did not know from experience 
how inclined we are to make disagreeable duties 



90 OUT OF DEBT. 

twice as formidable, by putting them off to the 
verv last moment, instead of clearing them from 

i 

our path at once. 

The room was very neat, and orderly, Satur- 
day morning being the time allotted at the 
Seminary, for the week's grand cleaning up, 
mending, altering, re-arranging. The girls had 
made a very marked improvement, marked by 
them at least by turning the bed around, and 
altering the book shelves. What girl has not, 
in the course of her school life, " made twice 
as much room " by changing the position of her 
bedstead, though if measured by rule and line, 
the gain would be wonderfully diminished. It 
covered Marianne's " delightful patch," more- 
over, and had two " front sides/' a great advan- 
tage, when both room-mates decline the back 
of the bed ! So the girls surveyed it with pe- 
culiar satisfaction from every point of view, and 
made it up between them in the best manner, 
with a clean white counterpane, which as " No. 
20 " had fallen to their lot that day. 

The books were placed neatly on the shelves, 
and piled up on the table under the mirror ; and 
in the foreground were arrayed various little 
treasures, with scrupulous care. An ornamented 
china match safe ; a pine burr basket, Jose- 



OUT OF DANGER. 91 

phine's ivory paper cutter, and Clementina's 
album. Their trunks, covered with chintz, served 
as ottomans, and Josephine had under Mari- 
anne's directions achieved a carpet foot stool, 
whichwhen closely examined showed itself to have 
been an empty raisin box, begged from Mrs. Platt 
the housekeeper. On this, Josephine's feet were 
elevated, and with her portfolio on her knee she 
was scribbling away, now writing a line or two 
in a flourishing manner, and then biting the top 
of her pencil for inspiration, that refused to 
come. 

Clementina, at her own window, a basket 
of bright silks and a pattern before her, was em- 
broidering on perforated card-board, two doves 
with their beaks united supposed to be an em- 
blem of the eternal and tender friendship existing 
between them, and destined to be a book-mark 
for Josephine's approaching birth day. Neither 
had spoken for some moments, Clementina ab- 
sorbed in the perpetual " one, two, three four" 
of her different colored stiches, and Josephine 
as industrially counting her finger, a species of 
scanning very much indulged in by juvenile 
poets. 

" There, I might as well give it up first as 
last" said she pettishly, tearing up the back 



92 OUTOFDEBT, 

of an old composition on which she had been 
scribbling. 

"Give up what ? ; said Clementina respon- 
sively, pricking her needle into the stitch last 
counted "seven, eight, nine no, five, six, seven 
blues, never mind, I shall have to count it over 
again ! Give up what, cherie ? ' 

" Why, this stupid poem!' ambitious Jose- 
phine ! she had always said verses before, but 
now that she was promoted as editress of 
the school newspaper, " The Azalia," she ven- 
tured a " poem/' just to see how it would sound 
when she came to be a magazine contributor. 

" What bothers you, darling ? can't I help 
you ? " 

Josephine felt scornfully inclined at the idea 
of Clementina, who sat whole afternoons puz- 
zling over a prose composition " On Winter," 
or. " My Happy Home," helping her in this 
extremity. However, she condescended to im- 
part her troubles. " Why, I want a rhyme a 
rhyme to l dwell/ 

" Oh, is that all. I'm sure 'dwell' is easy 
enough ; there's ' bell' and l tell.' 

" I've tried all those. They won't do at all. 
Just listen ' bell, tell, quell, rebel/ I tried 



every one.' 



OUT OF DANGER. 93 

" Quell is a very nice word, I'm sure/' said 
Clementina. " It always puts me in mind of 
William Tell." 

" Oh, I know/' answered Josephine, a little 
impatiently. " Because G-essler tried to quell 
him ; a word may be a very good word, and not 
suit." 

"Let's hear how it's to go then how should 
I know." 

Josephine took up her fair copy of " the 
poem," she always wrote on scraps, and copied 
it with pen and ink on a clean sheet. She im- 
agined it was impossible to compose any other 
way. 

" It's i Lines to My Brother at Sea,' you 
know." 

" But you haven't any brother at sea, have 
you ? ' inquired the literal Clementina. 

" Oh, no ! of course not ; but it does not 
make any difference, people that write poetry 
always imagine things." 

" Oh," said Clementina, relieved by the ex- 
planation, " Go on." 



" '1 would that it had been thy lot,' " 

" Is that the first of it ? " interrupted Miss 
Jones. 



94 OUT OF DEBT, 

u The first of this verse." 

" Oh, begin back at the beginning, let's hear 
how it commences." 

'' Very well," and Josephine, quite willing 
to try the effect aloud, turned back the leaf, and 
began afresh : " i Lines to My Brother at Sea, 
by Effie/ I shall take Effie, I think, altogether, 
Clementina. Now, mind you don't breathe it 
to a living soul. How would ' Effie Effington ' 
sound ? ' 

" Sweet, the girls would never dream who 
it was ; it doesn't sound in the least like Jose- 
phine Bleeker. Go on." 

"LINES TO MY BROTHER AT SEA, 



"BY EFFIE EFFIXGTON. 



" Full many a weary month has passed, 

Since you from us did part, 
Since you left your childhood's happy home, 

With a light and gleeful heart. 
Thy future then unclouded seemed, 

Thy life unvexed by care, 
And your laughing brow was shaded quite 

By curls of nut brown hair." 

"Oughtn't it to be 'you,' or <thou,' all the 
time ? ' suggested the audience. 

Josephine had thought so herself, but had 
not skill enough in construction to know how to 



OUT OF DANGER. 95 

* 

remedy it. However, she was not going to be 
corrected by Clementina. What she wanted 
of her hearers and Josephine was by no means 
a solitary example in authorship was praise, 
not criticism. 

" Mercy, no, child ! It doesn't make the 
least difference ; you put me out, asking ques- 
tions/' 

Clementina bore the rebuke much more 
meekly than could have been expected, but 
she had a profound admiration for the art of 
rhyming, proportioned to her own lack of original 
ideas. 

" And is thy brow yet clear and white ? 

Thy heart as light as when 
We wandered by the streamlet's side, 

Or rambled in the glen ? 
Has Father Time passed gently o'er 

Thy tall and manly form ? 
Hast thou ne'er shrunk before the blast ? 

Or bowed before the storm ? ' 

" Do you think there's too many questions ? ' 
asked Josephine, pausing at the end of the 
stanza. 

' No, I don't know as there is," said Clem- 
entina, warned by past experience, that dissent 
was not expected. " Don't you know that piece 



96 OUT OF DEBT, 

of Mrs. Sigourney's in ' The Young Lady's Class 
Book ? 

" ' Whose is yon sable bier ? 

"Why moves that throng so slow? 
Why does the lonely mother's tear 

In sudden anguish flow ? 
Why is the sleeper laid 

To rest in manhood's pride ? 
How gained his cheek that pallid shade ? ' 

don't you know ? We used to speak pieces at 
our last school, and I spoke that once." 

" Why, mine is very much in the same style, 
isn't it," said the school poetress, delighted with 
Clementina's fortunate instance. '* Here's the 
third verse, where i dwell ' comes in, 

" ' I would that it had been thy lot 

Dear brother, here to dwell, 
Beneath our parent's roof tree,' 

and there comes that provoking rhyme, or, 
rather, I can't get one." 

" How would i spell ' do," said Clementina, 
taking up her work again. 

" Spell ! let me see," and Josephine gathered 
her scattered fragments together again. 

" Beneath our father's roof tree, 
Bound by some potent spell." 

" Why, yes, that's the very thing, only I 



OUT OF DANGER. 97 

want it to go on, because I have the last two 
lines clone, and it must fit in. 

" The darlings of our household, 
Their glory and their pride." 



" That is, you and your brother/' said Clem- 
entina. " When have you. seen Tom ? ' 

" Don't speak just this moment, there's a 
dear child," answered Josephine, without look- 
ing up, and scribbling, as if life depended on 
her catching the idea she was in quest of. 

Clementina accustomed to be thus silenced 
considered for a moment whether she should join 
the girls on the play ground, or stay where she 
was, and finish her dove's wings. Finally she sat 
still, looking idly out of the window, at Maria 
Allen and Ellen Hadly, playing graces on the 
piazza of the opposite wing, their movements 
being considerably impeded by the hoods and 
shawls in which they were wrapped. 

Presently, Josephine threw down her pencil 
and sprang up, her task accomplished, and her 
face glowing with the excitement of composition. 

" Want to hear the rest, Clem ? " 

Clem nodded, and turned away from the 
window. " You wrote that last verse in a hurry, 
Josephine/' 
5 



98 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Didn't I ! It was just as easy as possible. 
The last line is a quotation, but then it's exactly 
what I wanted, and I let it be. I altered that 
third line again see." 

" I would that it had been thy lot, 

Dear brother here to dwell, 
Beneath our parent's roof tree 

And breaking not the spell 
That bound us to our happy home 

Where we grew side by side, 
The darlings of our household, 

Their glory and their pride. 

" Alas ! I fear that even now, 

Thou'rt slumbering with the dead, 
Where the sea around thee surges, 
And heaps billows on thy head. 
Where thou hast for thy requiem 

The howling of the blast! 
As it sweeps by some devoted ship 
' And bends the gallant mast? ' 

Clementina was quite as much delighted at 
the " requiem/' and " howling of the blast/' as 
Josephine could have desired. On the whole, 
they came to the conclusion, that it was " the 
best thing Josephine had ever written/' even 
surpassing the " Stanzas to Clementina, written 
in vacation," which now flourished in the purple 



OUT OF DANGER. 99 

morocco Album on the table. There is no 
knowing how this delightful excitement would 
have been calmed down, if " Miss Bleeker," had 
not been summoned to the parlor by the Mom- 
tress to receive " a gentleman." 

Saturday afternoon was the only time the 
pupils of Kockville Seminary were allowed to 
receive visits, and then one of the teachers was 
always in the room. Miss Baily sat on the sofa 
as Josephine came in, trying to play the agree- 
able to master Tom Bleeker, who did not seem 
to respond very amiably. 

There was always something very pleasant to 
the Seminary girls in these Saturday visits. 
First, the being called for, was a distinction, and 
a flutter of itself. Happy were they who had 
brothers or cousins at the Academy, and then it 
not unfrequently happened that other brothers 
and cousins dropped in making the levee quiet 
an animated affair. 

Tom Bleeker was very much admired by 
those who had met him in this way, and Jose- 
phine's pride, as well as her sisterly affection 
made his occasional visits a matter of great con- 
sequence. 

He did not seem much more amiably disposed 
towards her, than he had been towards Miss Baily, 




100 O U T O F D K B T , 

now retreated to a front window. He was irrita- 
ble, and restless, and did not care to talk on the 
topics Josephine introduced. Letters from home 
generally formed the theme of the afternoon, and 
Josephine wondered .that she had not heard for 
over two weeks. 

" Does she always sit there ;: -inquired the 
young gentleman at length nodding towards 
Miss Baily. 

" Oh, you need not mind her" said Josephine. 
" She never listens ; -in the anticipation of some 
famous practical joke, which Tom did not care 
should get back to head quarters again. 

But Tom was not satisfied, and the conver- 
sation drooped again, until Miss Baily, suddenly 
recollecting that her window had been up long 
enough, and that as only the brother and sister 
were there she might safely leave them alone, 
without a breach of discipline, quitted the room 
to attend to it. 

Tom left alone, did not get on a bit the bet- 
ter at first, but as time passed the emergency 
became more desperate, and breaking off some 
boyish narrative suddenly, he inquired if all that 
five dollars was spent. 

" No/' said the unsuspicious Josephine com- 
placently. " I ought to have had my overshoes 



OUT OF DANGER. 101 

before now, I suppose, but the fact is, I hated 
to change it. When money is changed it goes 
so fast, you know/ 7 

"Just like a girl/' thought Tom, who did 
know it, to his cost ; however, so much the bet- 
ter for the plan he had in view. He tried to 
assume as careless a manner as possible, but his 
voice would have betrayed his anxiety to any 
one more skilled in disguises than his sister. 

" Oh, I dare say you can get on a bit longer 
without it, then. Suppose you lend it to me for 
a day or so. The fact is, Joe " 

" Why, Tom/' interrupted his sister. 
" Surely, yours is not all gone." 

"Every cent/' said Tom, thinking that he 
would take a different course from that he had 
first proposed to himself, and. make the case as 
bad as possible, though holding out a prospect 
of speedy repayment. " Dead broke upon my 
honor, Joe, but I've written home for more. That 
is, I shall write to-night, and Frank Flanders 
owes me a part of it any way, so you need not 
be afraid. I wouldn't ask it of you " he ran 
on eagerly, as he watched Josephine's varying 
face, " but our society, the Fraters you know, 
are going to have the hall fixed up, and we are 
all expected to subscribe. I must, you see, it 



102 OUT OF DEBT, 

looks so mean not to, and if there's any thing I 
do hate, it's meanness ! ' 

He was giving a beautiful example of it 
now, that was certain. 

Josephine did not stop to think of that. 
She was startled at Tom's confession, that his 
money was all gone, and wondered how he had 
contrived to spend it all so soon ; in seven weeks, 
for she referred back to the number of composi- 
tions she had filed away that morning. And 
then, poor fellow, it was hard for him to be with- 
out a cent, or to be called mean, when it was 
owing to him too. Probably Frank Flanders 
had borrowed more than Tom liked to mention. 
However, the shoes and gloves she must have, 
and the bracelet clasp was a long cherished 
and very dear plan ; it was certainly a hard posi- 
tion to be placed in. 

"You see, Joe," said Tom, reading some- 
thing of this as she sat quite still for a minute, 
" girls can be saving. They haven't the temp- 
tation to spend money that we fellows have ; it 
goes, nobody knows how, a shilling here, and a 
shilling there. One can't refuse to treat- to a 
ride or so, where it's expected. 

Poor Tom, caught in the snare of Public 
Opinion thus early. 



O U T OF DA N G E 11 . 103 



u And then, every body likes a good generous 
fellow, that isn't afraid of his money." 

" But they ought to like you" said Josephine, 
" not your money. Don't you think you ought 
to be more careful, Tom ? You know what 
mother says." 

" Oh, mother's always lecturing, I know ; 
don't you begin," retorted Tom, in a surly tone. 

" I don't want to lecture, brother. I'm not 
old enough, and don't know enough," faltered 
Josephine, " but it only seems to me, as if it 
wasn't right to get into debt, and spend money 
when you can't afford it, just for what people 
will think, and to please them." 

A powerless argument, poor child, that had 
been used in vain to check the threatening tide 
of extravagance, by many a sister and wife ! 

" Keep your money yourself, then, if you 
want to be mean," said Tom, trying the resent- 
ful ; "I don't want it ! plenty of other people 
that are not so stingy ! ' 

" But, brother," sobbed Josephine, fairly 
crying at such a burst of unkindness, when al- 
ready over excited. 

" You needn't distress yourself," said Tom, 
shaking off her hand and striding towards the 
window. " You will have the satisfaction of 



! 04 U T O F D E B T , 

knowing I'm cut by all the fellows, Charlie 
Spear and all. I wonder what he'd think of 
you now, praising you up, as he's always done 
since that day in the cars." 

Josephine arrested in her tears, could not 
help wondering what Charlie Spear had said , 
and Tom was not slow to follow up the advan- 
tage. 

" If you were only a little more accommo- 
dating, I should agree with him. I say, Joe, 
you don't need them gloves just yet, you said 
you didn't ; Charlie Spear says, your hand is 
the smallest hand he ever saw ; his sister's are 
nothing to it. Couldn't you give us part, you 
know, two and a half say ? ' 

Josephine had translated from the French, 
the fable of " the Kaven, the Fox, and the 
Cheese," a few days before, but she did not 
think of it then. After all, it was helping Tom 
out of a scrape, and being sisterly, and then 
" half," she could spare half very well for a 
while. So her hand was smaller than Charlie 
Spear's sister's, she did not think he noticed it 
that clay ; and her meditations ended in going 
up stairs for the half-eagle ; notwithstanding her 
first resolve, and Tom's crossness. 

It was a pretty hard struggle, though, when 



OUT OF DANGER. 105 

she came to open her work-box, and found it ly- 
ing in the corner where she had first placed it, 
in full relief upon the blue silk lining, almost as 
bright as when it first came from the mint. 
>he had denied herself many little things rather 
t lian change it ; and she walked back more 
slowly to the parlor concealing it in the palm of 
her hand. Several others had come in, while 
she was absent, and she did not get a chance to 
give it to Tom until just as he was going. 

" You can bring the change next time you 
come/' she whispered, and Tom, now radiant 
with amiability, really meant what he said, 
when he promised to do so, without fail. 



106 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE DEBATING SOCIETY. 

" Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth." PROVERBS. 

THERE was an adjourned meeting of the " F ra- 
ters," held in their reading room at the Academy 
building. 

Party spirit ran unusually high this term ; 
the " Dolphins/' familiarly so called, but in 
reality the members of the Adelphi Literary 
Society, had succeeded in enlisting "the most of 
the new comers, and the " Social Fraternity/' 
hitherto flourishing, found themselves in the 
minority. Consequently a meeting had been 
called, in which it had been " resolved/' that 
their declining state was owing principally to the 
shabby condition of the carpet and curtains in 
their room, while the Dolphins had refurnished 
a year before. 

" Individual Societies, like nations," said 
Frank Flanders, in the eloquent speech with 



OUT OF DANGER. 107 

which he supported this resolution, " have their 
tides of popularity. But contrary to familiar 
classical authorities, we find ourselves declining 
when luxury diminishes, instead of when it is on 
the increase among us. In other words, fellow 
Fraters, if we would increase in numbers, in 
strength, in influence ! if we would hurl our 
audacious rival from the triumphant position 
from which it so tauntingly derides our fallen 
state ! however galling the admission may be to 
us as a purely literary and scientific association, 
we must sacrifice to mammon, and refurnish our 
classic hall." 

" Bravo ! bravo ! ' shouted Frank's party, 
with Charlie Spear at their head ; but Charlie 
Spear's room-mate, with a smaller band, did not 
in any manner respond to this eloquent appeal. 

It was supposed to be a secret session, but 
the watchful Dolphins, gathered in their secre- 
tary's room overhead, knew by the stamping and 
clapping of hands, that their recently won lau- 
rels were considered in peril by their rivals. 
Then came a murmur of discussion like the hum 
from a hive of startled bees. The Fraters were 
deciding upon the style of carpet, and whether 
the painted blinds should not be laid aside alto- 
gether, and replaced by the glories of a muslin 



108 <>UT OF DEBT, 

curtain, with a Turkey red relief; what new 
boy could resist such a combination for as 
Frank Flanders said., in resuming his remarks, 

" To change slightly a popular couplet, my 
beloved compeers - 

" Praters, like moths 
Are only caught by glare." 

Even the dissenting minority was caught by 
this suggestion. The curtains would tell im- 
mediately, on all strangers coming up the ave- 
nue. The rival reading rooms, originally in- 
tended as the parlor and sitting-room of the 
Academy, were situated on either side of the 
main entrance. The Dolphins, on their part, had 
painted blinds to exclude the vulgar gaze, and 
heighten curiosity, representing the broken 
arches of some time-worn ruin, with what might 
be moss, and might be horse-hair, streaming 
from the top. The fraternity would have cur- 
tains, it was carried unanimously, always ex- 
cepting Robert Carter, the " stupid chum " of 
Charlie Spear. 

" Well, then," said the last named young 
gentleman, briskly, " all we have to do is to 
appoint the committee, make the arrangements, 
and send to Albany for the things " 



OUT O F DANGER. 109 

" Except raising the money to pay for them/' 
suggested Carter. 

" That's easy enough/' said Frank Flanders, 
who pleaded poverty on all occasions, and was 
notorious for spending the money of other 
people. 

" But what will the amount be, do you 
imagine ? ' asked Carter, paper and pencil in 
hand. 

" Ten or fifteen dollars/' said one of them 
at random. 

"Thirty or forty/' said Carter quietly ; "an 
ingrain carpet, I suppose." 

" Oh, no, let's have tapestry/' 

" What's tapestry ? who's girl enough to 
know." 

" What is tapestry ? ' said a chorus of 
voices. 

" That stuff like a rug thick and soft 
ail over flowers, and thingumbobs," explained 
Frank, from whom the suggestion came. 

" Hurrah for tapestry ! ' shouted another, 
" down with the Dolphins, and their old 
ingrain." 

" Yes, like our parlor carpets," said Charlie 
Spear. 

" Ours too," said Tom Bleeker. " I go in 
for tapestry, and Turkey red/' 



110 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Three cheers for Turkey ! ' shouted noisy 
Joe Ferris, at his elbow. 

" At midnight in his curtained tent, 
A Turk was dreaming of the hour " 



" Turkey-red curtains they were, when they 
got through fighting and dyeing, any way." 

" Don't be a goose, Joe far-fetched it isn't 
c curtained ' any way, it's i guarded! 

" That's what you'd better be, if you don't 
want Peters insinuating his nose here," some 
one called across the table to Ferris. 

" Si lence ! ' called Frank Flanders with 
a rap ; "to be, or not to be this is the 
question ! ' 

" Put it then, and get done with it/' said 
Ferris ; " I haven't got out a line of Horace yet, 
and it's past eight." 

" Very well then, gentlemen, it is moved 
and seconded " 

" No it is not seconded," interrupted Ferris, 
" that's it." 

" I second it," said Charlie Spear. " Very 
well then, it is moved and seconded, that the 
Social Fraternity expend the balance now in 
treasury, and as much more as is necessary, on 
a new Turkey carpet, and tapestry curtains." 



OUT OF DANGER. Ill 

" Cart before the horse, Frank ! ' 

" Order, gentlemen ! those in favor of this 



motion will say /." 

" Aye ! ' rang like a volley through the 
room, causing consternation to the ranks of the 
Dolphins overhead ; Carter alone was silent. 

" Why don't you vote ? ' said Tom, jog- 
ging him with his elbow. 

" I don't approve of spending every thing in 
carpet and curtains, when we haven't had a new 
book in the library, or a new magazine on the 
table for a year. Of course the fellows go to 
the Dolphins, who buy every thing and take 
every thing." 

" Pooh ! it is not that ! ' said Tom, feeling 
nevertheless that there might be a great deal 
of weight in the argument. 

" Yes it is," said Carter stoutly. " Stevens 
and Quincy both would have joined, if we had 
taken Littell. Besides, we don't begin to have 
enough on hand." 

" Well, we must raise it then ! ' said Tom, 
magnificently, fingering a vest pocket full of 
change as he did so. 

" Not so easy," objected the other. " I 
can't subscribe a dime." 

" Why ? " asked Tom. 



112 O U T F D E BT , 

" Because I haven't got it, and can't get it, 
that's all. Father has hard work enough to 
pay my bills as it is." 

He gave his explanation in a simple, straight- 
forward way, neither hesitating nor with assumed 

*/ J o 

carelessness. Tom could not understand any 
one who would so deliberately own to strait- 
ened means, and keep within their limits ; but 
he felt a new respect towards Carter from that 
moment ; he knew that in such moral courage he 
was entirely wanting. Frank Flanders was 
always complaining of poverty, but that was a 
different thing, a " get off," as Ferris said, when 
he knew he was sure to be invited at the ex- 
pense of some one else, for his jokes, and his 
stories. 

The Social Fraternity had risen in their own 
estimation by the mere vote. The Dolphins 
plotted counter measures among themselves, 
instead of attending to the regular debates at 
their next meeting. Boys that declined joining 
either of these ambitious associations, were 
drawn in. " BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION ! ; was 
found chalked in large, straggling capitals, on 
the door of the Fraters' reading-room ; even the 
teachers were interested, and more honorary 
members were elected, than ever were heard of 



OUT OF DANGER. 113 

at Yale or Harvard. The Fraternity held 

V 

mysterious consultations in the corridor, which 
were suddenly broken off, if a Dolphin appeared 
in view. They received important-looking des- 
patches from Albany ; and returned immediate 
replies, writing " In Haste ! ' all over the yel- 
low envelopes, which were sealed with the large 
seal of the Society, two hands in the most inse- 
parable grasp on which a very unnecessary 
amount of scarlet sealing-wax was wasted. 

Tom Bleeker, as the head of the committee, 
was perpetually drawing up some communica- 
tion or report from the inner pocket of his 
roundabout, and making numberless demon- 
strations in class, on the cover of his Euclid, 
which were entirely foreign to those propounded 
by Mr. Peters. 

To be sure, he thought now and then with 
an uncomfortable twinge, that he had pledged 
himself as one of five to pay all that was due 
over the cash on hand, and the voluntary sub- 
scriptions. He hesitated to do this, it is true, 
but Charlie Spear reminded him, that as the 
head of the committee, it was expected of him, 
particularly as every body knew that he had the 
richest father of any boy in school. To which 
Joe Ferris added, "Fact, Tom! I only wish 



114 OUT OF DEBT, 



this child could say so ; every body knows that 
you have more pocket-money than any two fel- 
lows among us, except Charlie boy, who carries 
California somewhere about him ;" which 
speech was finished by a friendly and admiring 
thump on Tom's back, which convinced him 
that there was " no way to get out from it." 

The bill at Kelly's was not yet settled, and 
had been increased by sundry rides and drives 
on holiday afternoons. Then there was another 
at " Barker's," the village store, for " extras," 
commenced by sending jointly with some of the 
others for " crackers and cheese," as all mis- 
cellaneous eatables were entitled by them, which 
were procured in his name ; and he had found 
it convenient to add one or two items before the 
second half-eagle was changed, promising him- 
self not to let it amount to more than half a 
dollar, though he kept no record of it. He did 
not dare now to ask Charlie Spear about " that 
little account," no longer small, and Charlie was 
not the only one who had been glad to oblige 
" such a clever, flush fellow, as Tom Bleeker." 

Then, too, as his popularity and consequence 
increased with the boys, it lessened with his 
teachers, for a mind so ill at ease was not clear 
enough to apply to his tasks as he once had 



OUT OF DANGER. 115 

done. Tom liked any society better than his 
own, and escaped from it as much as possible. 
Even in study hours, when he was compelled 
"to stay at home with himself/' he managed to 
escape from uncomfortable reflections by reading 
some trashy, worthless, and even hurtful tale, 
procured by stealth, and read against the rules, 
while a thick cloud of dust settled on the Bible, 
which he had been so proud to possess scarcely 
a year before, and hurried prayers were often 
entirely omitted. This, which seemed the end 
of misdoing, was, in truth, its very commence- 
ment. He had put out " the lamp of his guid- 
ance, and his feet had stumbled upon the dark 
mountains." 



116 n U T OF DEB T , 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE TEMPTATION. 

" Wisdom is better than rubies.' 1 PROVERBS. 

" TOM hasn't been down here in an age/' said 
Clementina to her room-mate, one afternoon. 

" I know it," said Josephine. " I was just 
thinking of it. " Besides " but she checked 
herself just as she was going to add, " he hasn't 
given me that change yet, and I must have my 
gloves before next Sunday." 

" What ? " asked Clem. " Besides what ? " 
' Oh, nothing/' said Josephine, still meditat- 
ing uncomfortably on the large hole past draw- 
ing together in one of her best pair. 

: I guess he'll be here to-morrow/' continued 
Clementina. " He's not sick, for he was at 
church Sunday, you know. I wouldn't care, if I 
was you." 

" Oh, I don't ; ' said Josephine, shrugging 



OUT OF DAN G E II . 117 

her shoulders slightly. " It's not that. Do 
you know your part, Clem ? for it's most time 
for a rehearsal." 

" Most. Let me see; we come in where 
Marianne says, ' These are my jewels ! ' no, I 
come in first, and carry off the children when 
Livia arrives ; Ellen Hadly, you know. It was 
very good in Marianne to choose us, when we 
have been in so often. You announce Livia, 
don't you ? We haven't much to say, for t hat- 
matter." 

" It's a very pretty dress, though I don't 
suppose Roman slaves really did wear white 
dresses, and blue sashes do you ? ' 

" Oh, we are captives, of course, and were 
the daughters of a Nubian Prince, in our own 
country." 

" Goodness ! Clem, Nubians are black. 
Oh, well some prince or other come, let's go," 
and the room-mates betook themselves to one 
of the smaller recitation rooms accordingly. 

" Dialogues," as they called them, were 
among the principal recreations at Kockville 
Seminary. They were in reality scenes from 
real life, or from ancient or modern history, 
with dialogues to suit the characters, which were 
spoken by the young ladies. The writers were 



118 OUT OF D K P> T , 

selected from among the older girls, who usually 
chose the other speakers. It was quite an honor 
to be chosen, among the younger girls, who were 
ambitious candidates accordingly. This plan 
of dialogues, much like the acted charades, 
since so common, was considered by Miss Anthon 
an excellent exercise both in composition and 
speaking, and she was usually at the rehearsals, 
to suggest alteration and improvement. 

" Now/' said Marianne Fanshaw, " here we 
all are, except the children, and Mrs. Platt ; 
we are going to borrow hers, girls- will bring 
them in as soon as their faces are washed. I 
am Cornelia, you know, and Ellen is Li via, a 
noble lady come to pay me a call/' 

" Clem, don't giggle when you come in after 
the little Platts, or you'll spoil every thing/' 
added Ellen, to this explanation. " You know 
you did last time you were on a dialogue, just 
when Maria told you your father was dead, and 
you were an orphan." 

" But she looked so ridiculous," said Clem, 
laughing at the recollection of Maria Allen's 
round, rosy face in a widow's cap, with a stiff 
white paper border. 

" Hush," said Marianne. " Now, I'm Cor- 
nelia, you know, and sit here in my white 






OUT OF DANGER. 119 

wrapper, with a girdle, that is the leather belt 
and buckle of my riding habit, and my hair in 
a high braid, coming around, so. The little 
Platts are playing at my feet. Joe appears 
to announce Livia, and Clem comes in to carry 
them off." 

" But if she sees them when she comes, what 
is the use of bringing them back again ? 7 asked 
Maria Allen. 

" Oh, never mind," said Marianne, good- 
naturedly. " They're not supposed to be dress- 
ed for company. The girls have so little to do, 
I thought I'd let them come in as often as pos- 
sible. Joe, I guess you'd better kneel when you 
offer the tray of ' conserves, sweet and scented 
wines/ ' quoted Miss Fanshaw, from her manu- 
script. " It will have a very good effect. But, 
come, let's begin. Enter, Livia." Whereupon, 
Ellen Hadly emerged from behind a black- 
board, carrying herself in a stiff, affected manner, 
which was intended for stateliness, while Mari- 
anne leaned on a desk in a pensive attitude, sup- 
posed to be watching the gambols of the little 
Platts on the floor. On this occasion, the entire 
glory of authorship was due to Ellen. 

The " Good morrow, lovely lady ! ' and 
" Thrice welcome, noble dame ! ' of the saluta- 



120 OUT OF DEBT 



i 



tion, hushed the audience into attention, and 
the rehearsal proceeded with unusual success, to 
Livia's inquiry, 

What games are now in vogue, to make 
the tardy hours more quickly pass ? What new 
intrigues at court ?- 

6 Or, in the common language of morning calls, 
what's the news ? " interrupted Maria Allen. 

" Hush ! ' said Marianne, " now here's my 
great speech." 

Yes, much is even now transpiring, though, 
to a stranger's eye, it may seem dull." 

" Very ! ' whispered Maria, audibly. 

Marianne composed her face once more " after 
the high Roman fashion/' and continued : 

" New games are every day invented to please 
the vitiated taste of petty tribunes and of cour- 
tiers vile, who taint the very air we breathe with 
their base flatteries." 

"Ahem ! ' coughed one of the audience, 
which produced a deprecating, "Oh, please/' 
from the speaker. 

" I love not scenes like these ! yet 'twas this 
morn I visited the Circus, to please my noble 
Lord. Twice, and high the combat rose, be- 
tween a proud Numidian lion, and a man whose 
noble air sat ill beneath the tunic vile he wore. 






OUT OF DAN G K R . 121 

I watched him, for it seemed to me, I'd met his 
glance in other days, and when at last he rose 
victorious from the combat, and shook aloft his 
gleaming spear, wet with the life-blood of his 
adversary, I recognized in that bowed form, 
one, who but a few short years ago, stood proud- 
est in the Forum." 

Marianne sighed profoundly, and hung her 
head, like a child convicted of naughtiness, 
while Ellen gave a tragic start forward, ex- 
claiming : 

"His name?" 

" It matters not/' said Marianne, reviving a 
little. " Yet there I read a lesson on what men 
call glory. As I said, a few short years ago, he 
stood the proudest, midst the nobles of our land ; 
and multitudes entranced, stood listening to the 
burning words that flowed as a resistless torrent 
from his tongue." 

" Oh, what a fall was there ! ' exclaimed 
Maria, pathetically. " Livia, you don't roll up 
your eyes enough," while Livia proceeded : 

" Aha ! I knew him well ! 'Twas Glacus 
Cassius ! none other stood so high. Was this 
his fate ? A star indeed has fallen from the 
firmament ! (sighs.) Methinks e'en yet I see 



6 



122 OUT OF DEBT, 

his ivory fingers, flashing with the mingled gleam 
of pearl and diamond clear ! ' 

" Livia dotes on jewelry, doesn't she/' said 
one of the girls. 

" That's her part, you know," exclaimed 
Josephine ; " listen, now Marianne has to ask 
her about her husband." 

" Rather late in the day," said Ellen Hadly's 
sister. " People generally do that to begin 
with. My dear Mrs. Jones ! delighted to see 
you ; how are the children ? how is Mr. Jones ? 
though they never wait to hear the answer. 
But, where are they ? Oh, Mr. ' Livia,' or 

e Fabius/ or e Valerius/ or whatever her hus- 
band's name is, has given her a ring, and she's 
showing it." 

Here Marianne goes in ecstasies. " Most 
beautiful !" 

Livia : "And see this bright and curious jewel. 
Are not these diamonds clear ? (showing her 
bracelets) and have you aught to be compared 
to this ? " 

" Cool in ' Mrs. Livia/ whispered Maria 
Allen. 

" S h, she hasn't finished," said Clemen- 
tina. 

' Now I bethink me, I would see thy caskets, 



OUT OF D A N (} E R . 123 

for no doubt thou'st many bright and curious 
gems, gifts of thy noble Septimus." 

Clementina at this juncture departed to 
hurry the ablutions of the borrowed Platt chil- 
dren, and the noble Cornelia having proceeded 
with the statement 

" Bright jewels, true, I have/' paused to lis- 
ten for the scuffling of the unwilling little feet 
in the hall ; being reassured by a glimpse of 
calico pantalets on the piazza, she raised her 
finger with, 

" But, hark ! I hear my children's voices/' 

Enter Clementina, dragging the youngest 
Platt, and promising the eldest candy, as she 
hurried them in. Marianne, or rather Cornelia, 
captured a hand of each and led them forward. 

" These are my jewels, these the precious 
gems that long shall sparkle on my crown of 
fame. I ask no richer treasure, seek no other 
boon than their sweet guileless love ! ' 

While Ellen, caressing one of the sunburnt 
little heads, tried to make herself heard above 
the chorus of laughter, exclaiming, 

" And bright ones, truly ; this is a little 
faithful copy of his sire " 

" Where did you ever see him ? ' asked, 
Maria. " Their -sire" 



124 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Bright ones, truly ! ' laughed another, 
c: but a little polishing would not hurt them," 
and so the rehearsal broke up in a little hubbub 
of criticism, laughter, and applause. 

The speakers themselves adjourned to Mari- 
anne Fanshaw's room, or rather Miss Bailey's, 
who was absent, and Ann Brown sat sewing 
quietly and very much at home by the window. 
Clementina and Josephine exchanged glances. 
Ellen Hadly nodded carelessly, and went on with 
what she was saying. 

" How are you going to manage with those 
little Platts, any way ? ' 

" That's easy enough some white tunics 
made out of an old skirt or something." 

" I'll trim them with some worsted braid," 
said Ann. 

" Thank you," said Marianne, in a friendly, 
almost affectionate tone. " That's a good child, 
if you're not too busy." 

Miss Brown was certainly plain and awkward 
usually, but here, where she felt quite at home, 
and sure of being welcome, there was less 
restraint than usual in her manner. " She 
certainly lias very good eyes," thought Josephine, 
as she sat watching her, " and her hair is very 
thick and long, only it is put up so horridly ! ' 



OUT OF DANGER. 125 

and then she looked at Ann's hands, which were 
large, and far from delicate, showing that she, 
had always been accustomed to use them un- 
sparingly. And so she had ; as the eldest 
daughter of a poor man, she had made, mended 
and washed for the little ones ; and now she was 
struggling to gain an education, that she might 
teach them as well, aided by the kindness of 
Miss Anthon and other friends, who, like Mari- 
anne Fanshaw, recognized a noble heart and 
mind beneath the plain exterior and poor 
apparel. 

" What are you going to wear ? ' asked 
Marianne of Ellen. " Oh, I have that jewelry 
here now ; you wanted one of my bracelets." 

" Why, yes, as I'm supposed to be covered 
with trinkets. I have Maria's, and our Jenny's ; 
I would like your cameo. Marianne, I think 
you are the most fortunate girl I know." 

" How so, Ellen ? " * 

" Why, to have such lots of things ; most of 
us girls are contented with a brooch, and a ring, 
or a bracelet at least ; there's nobody but you 
in school has a whole set, and you have both 
turquoise and coral." 

Marianne had unlocked a dark brass-mounted 
dressing-case, and taken out the tray. There 



126 OUT OF DEBT, 

were several little white and green paper boxes, 
such as ornaments often come in, and two large 
morocco cases besides. 

Josephine and Clementina both crowded 
forward to look and admire. 

" Are all those yours, Marianne ? ' 

" Yes," said she, quietly, and a little sadly, 
they thought. She had been too young when 
her mother died to recollect her, but she never 
saw those morocco cases, which would not have 
been hers but for that loss, without thinking that 
she was motherless, and longing for the love and 
sympathy, which she saw others receive. 

" Would you mind opening them ? ' asked 
Josephine, who " doted on jewelry ' quite as 
much as the lady Livia. 

" No, not at all ; ' and she unclasped the 
cases, and displayed the rich, but old-fashioned 
ornaments, on their velvet beds. 

Josephine looked with greedy eyes, and 
Clementina was so rude as to say, " they were 
nothing to her mother's ornaments/ 3 

" I wonder you don't wear more jewelry/' 
said Josephine, as Marianne laid out what had 
been purchased and presented to her, for Ellen 
to choose from. 

" I don't think I care for it particularly ; I'd 



OUT OF DANGER. 127 

rather have a knot of ribbon any day ; I think it 
looks more simple and girlish ; or velvet bands 
for my neck and wrists, such as Ann wears." 

She said this for the sake of drawing Ann 
into the conversation, or at least to let her see 
that she was not forgotten, while others were 
attended to. In this she was unlike many 
rich and fashionable ladies we have met, who 
slight and neglect people they condescend to en- 
tertain alone, when others of a gayer set are 
present. But this was not according to Mari- 
anne's one golden rule of ladyhood, by which 
she did all things habitually. She had given 
Ann the velvet ribbon, and made it up for her, 
though she did not think it was necessary to 
speak of it : many would have said " such as I 
gave Ann." 

" What a sweet ring ! ; said Josephine, 
opening a little box that held this ring alone. 
" May I take it out ? Oh, how little it is ! it 
would just fit me/ ; 

" Try it on, if you like," said Marianne good- 
naturedly, for she saw Josephine longing to do so. 
" I had it when I was about your age. Yes, I 
think that ring would do better than the one you 
have already, Ellen ; it is larger, and would 
make more show/ 



128 OUT OF DEBT. 

She spoke now of a blood-stone seal, Ellen 
had discovered, and which she wanted to wear in 
the dialogue. Josephine replaced the case on 
the box, and put the ring on her forefinger. 
It was a golden circlet, with five pearls, enclos- 
ing a small ruby, and did fit her, though it was 
rather loose. Josephine held out her hand ad- 
miringly, for by this time you have no doubt 
discovered that her hands were her chief vanity. 
Some one had told her that a small hand was 
the mark of " a born lady " and from that time 
she had measured every body by this standard. 
Marianne's hands were larger, but soft and white, 
and well formed. Clementina had short, thick 
fingers ; Ann Brown's no pretensions at all, as 
she looked around the room ; and Ellen Hadly's, 
like Ellen herself, had no special claims, one 
way or the other. 

" It's a shame, this doesn't belong to me," 
thought Josephine, returning to the ring, and 
the hand that wore it, with renewed admiration. 
" It sets off my hand beautifully, and Marianne 
never wears it. I should think she might give 
it to me, or let me wear it a little while any 
way ; I would be as careful as possible. Ellen 
borrows the girls' things, and so does Maria. I 
wonder why mamma told me not to ; I do think 



OUT OF DANGER. 129 

ft 

my mother is the most particular woman that 
ever lived and breathed." 

It was getting dark in the room, but there 
was a wood fire, that glowed and flashed upon 
the group around the table. Ellen and Marianne, 
still busy with the ornaments, replacing them 
now, and Clementina, leaning over the table 
with both elbows on it, and her chin in her 
hands, a favorite position with Miss Jones, was 
idly watching them. Ann had found it too 
dusky for her sewing, and sat with it in her lap, 
looking into the pleasant wood fire, and castle- 
building, no doubt. 

" I wonder if Marianne remembers that I 
have it," flashed through Josephine's thoughts 
directly. " If she doesn't, there would be no 
harm in wearing it just to-morrow, for Tom will 
be sure to come, and who knows but Charlie 
Spear or some of them may call for him, and I 
can always go to the door to see him off ! It is 
perfectly lovely. I don't believe Marianne would 
care ; and if I wear it off without saying a word, 
it wouldn't be borrowing it ! ' 

She looked almost stealthily around the room 
again. All was as before, and Marianne had 
forgotten about it, for she had replaced the 



130 OUT OF DEBT, 

empty box, and was just closing the dressing- 
case. 

" What difference does it make ?" whispered 
the Temptation to Josephine, again. " Mari- 
anne would not mind if she did know, I don't 
believe ; only if I tell her, that would be borrow- 
ing, and I will return it all safe and sound Mon- 
day, before school." 

The golden band, and the pearls, were very 
fascinating on that half-extended forefinger, and, 
as Marianne turned the key of the dressing- 
case with a snap, Clementina, suddenly recollect- 
ing a half-finished story, called her away. She 
bade Marianne a hurried good-by, and the next 
minute was going down Poverty Lane with the 
ring on her hand, but unnoticed by Clementina 
in the darkness. 



OUT OF DANGER. 131 



CHAPTEE X. 

CONCEALMENT. 

" The wicked flee when no roan pursueth." PROVERBS. 

IT could not be always dark, and Clementina 
would be sure to see the ring ! This was the first 
uncomfortable reflection as they reached their own 
room. " Where would be the best place to put 
it ? ' thought Josephine, with sudden recollec- 
tion of any spot which was not considered com- 
mon property. 

She could not get at her trunk without ex- 
citing too much attention, for it was empty, 
Clementina knew as well as herself, and had the 
close chintz cover besides. There was her writ- 
ing desk, but she had unfortunately lost the key. 
Her workbox was so small that it could be lifted 
and carried away almost as easily as a ring, if 
any one was inclined to steal it. For the first 
time, thoughts of thieves intruded themselves. 



132 OUT OF DEBT, 

Such a thing had never been heard of at Rock- 
ville. Even the teachers did not lock their 
drawers, or doors, as there were no servants to 
lead into temptation, and no one had access to 
the main building but those in whose honesty 
they had the most implicit confidence. But 
nothing else was at hand, and under pretence of 
replacing a spool, though she might have opened 
her box twenty times, without being particularly 
noticed, the ring was put under a roll of tape, 
and Josephine went down to tea. The necessity 
she felt of making an excuse about the spool, 
might have shown her that she was in fault ; 
but having once done wrong she would not stop 
to think. Several of the girls noticed what ex- 
cellent spirits Josephine seemed to be in, at the 
tea table, and how pretty she looked, for her 
cheeks were flushed, her eyes unusually bright, 
and she talked incessantly. But she heard every 
step that sounded across the piazza, with an in- 
ward fear of robbery, and avoided meeting- 
Marianne's eye, every time she spoke to her. 
She began to wish the ring safe back in its place, 
but it would be so mortifying to own that she 
had taken it, without having the pleasure of 
wearing it once, at least. 

When they left the dining-room, Josephine 



OUT OF DANGER. 133 

pushed by every one, and hurried up stairs to 
raise the box cover with fear and trembling. 
The ring was there, safe, and more beautiful 
than ever, in her eyes. She would not return 
it just then ; Marianne migM be displeased, after 
all, and she would have some pleasure from it, 
having risked so much. So she sat down to her 
lessons, still keeping the box in sight, lest Clem- 
entina should take a fancy to help herself to a 
string, or button, as she often did. 

" So far so good/' thought she. as they blew 
out the light, and jumped into bed without any 
discoveries ; but though Josephine usually fell 
asleep only too easily to suit Clementina, who 
liked to talk, it was in vain now that she at- 
tempted to forget herself. She shook up her 
pillow to no purpose, and settled herself in her 
favorite position. The workbox stood on the 
table alarmingly near the window. How easily 
any one could raise the sash and carry it off ! 
She had a great 'mind to get up and put it on ; 
but then Clem might wake first, and see it. 
Finally, after a great many plans and sugges- 
tions, she waited until Clementina was sound 
asleep, and, making as little noise as she could, 
stepped out of bed, and put the box under her 
pillow. But if she turned in the night, the box 



134 OUT OF DEBT, 

might fall out, and betray her by the noise ! if 
she pushed it further along, it would be too near 
Clementina ! Finally, she raised one corner of 
the mattress as carefully as she could, watching 
the sleeper's face every instant, in the misty 
light of the faint, new moon. 

Clementina, having no ring on her conscience, 
slept through these various manoeuvres, and 
Josephine tried to compose herself once more. 
The box underneath did not add to the softness 
of her pillow, and her sleep, when sleep came, 
was disturbed by restless dreams, in which the 
little Platts, Livia and her jewels, were mingled 
in the most fantastic and uncomfortable man- 
ner. 

The dialogue was to be spoken in the last 
morning hour, instead of the usual reading aloud 
of the best composition from each class. Jose- 
phine wondered to find how little interest she 
had in it now. Usually, the girls selected in 
this way were excused from one or two lessons, 
and had access to the teachers at any hour, for 
counsel in any unexpected emergency. Jose- 
phine chose to practise, as usual, though she 
had an arpeggio lesson, which she particularly 
disliked, leaving the others to arrange the 
drugget, which served as a carpet, the couch 



OUT OF DANGER. 135 

and the marble-topped centre table, which were 
to represent the morning room of " Cornelia/' 
at one end of the drawing hall. 

She knew Marianne would be there, and, 
instead of seeking her society as she had always 
done before, she avoided every possible encounter, 
and when finally summoned to dress for her 
part, took care not to arrive until she was sure 
that "Cornelia* had taken up her position. 
The Dialogue passed off very prosperously ; the 
audience being disposed favorably, and overlook- 
ing any little discrepancies in scenery or cos- 
tume, in the most charitable manner. At any 
other time, Josephine would have lingered to 
catch any criticism on herself or others, but now 
she slipped away unnoticed to open the box, and 
assure herself, once more, of the safety of her 
troublesome possession. 

" Tom must come this afternoon/' she 
thought, as, locking the door, and drawing the 
curtain, she indulged herself in trying it on once 
more. " I shall wear my stone-colored cashmere, 
and my scarlet sacque, down to the parlor, and 
perhaps Miss Anthon will allow him to walk 
with me when I go to the store for my gloves. 
Gloves I must have, that's certain. These are 
forlorn ! " 



136 OUT OF DEBT, 

But in vain was the careful toilette, the 
nicely braided hair, the ring itself, which, gain- 
ing courage from Marianne's silence, and Clem's 
preoccupation, she ventured at last to put on, 
taking the precaution, however, to wear the 
pearls inside, so as to make the narrow gold 
band scarcely noticeable, though it could be 
turned to display them fully on her way down 
stairs, if Tom and his friends did come. 

" Are you sure no one has been here for 
ine ? " she asked, more than once, of the rnoni- 
tress, and finally she became so restless, and 
really uneasy, for she depended on having 
her gloves to wear the next day, and needed 
some new drawing-pencils badly, that she took 
her book, and sat down by the hall window, 
which commanded a view of the Academy road, 
to watch for herself. 

The afternoon dragged on, and she sat there, 
cold and uncomfortable, besides " missing a great 
deal of fun," as Clementina assured her, in 
their own room, where their own set had gathered. 
She strained her eyes to watch every figure ap- 
pearing in the distance, only to meet with a 
fresh disappointment as it came nearer. It 
seemed as if every body was called for but her. 
She could hear the laughing and talking in the 



OUT OF DANGER. 137 

parlor, and the bell ringing every ten minutes, 
but no one said, " Is Miss Bleeker in ? ' and 
she had no right to join them. Then she began 
to wonder if she had offended Tom, and she 
thought over every thing she had said the last 
time they met. But that was not it, Tom 
shunned her, as she shunned Marianne, and grew 
more miserable and reckless every day. 

In their city home, a mother prayed that 
her absent children might be " shielded from 
temptation," but sometimes this prayer, of all 
others, seems denied, and our dear ones are suf- 
fered to be taken in the snare, that they may be 
more watchful for the future, and learn where to 
apply for help, when they at length come to ask, 
" deliver us from evil." 

Mrs. Bleeker, still careful and troubled, often 
rested in the thought that two of her children 
were surrounded by good influences, and spared 
the annoyances which daily increased at home. 
Their letters, so childishly full of their own plans 
and occupations, were among her chief pleasures, 
and if she noticed that Tom's were briefer and 
more irregular than usual, it was only to think 
that he was making the most of advantages 
which might not be long continued to him, and 
had not time, as of old. 



138 OUT OF DEBT, 

The twilight deepened into evening, and 
Josephine reluctantly gave up all hope. She 
really wanted to see Tom. She felt more lonely 
and homesick than she had done before, since 
vacation ; every thing seemed to trouble her, 
and disappoint her. When older people find 
this depression creeping over them, they know 
from past experience, some act or wish of their 
own is in a great measure the cause. Josephine 
had never experienced it before, and thought it 
was all owing to her disappointment of the after- 
noon, as she undressed, and threw herself wearily 
on the bed, the instant the bell rang for study 
hours to be over. Clementina had gone into 
one of the other rooms to hear the conclusion 
of one of the afternoon's jokes, and at last, in 
fear of her return, ^he forced herself to rise, re- 
arrange the workbox with its concealed treasure, 
and pretended to be asleep when her room-mate 
returned, to avoid the chatter she was sure, 
otherwise, to have to listen to. 

' The next morning was cold and cheerless. 
The sky had a dull, leaden, immovable tinge. 
It w r as late in the season for a heavy storm, yet 
every one prophesied " snow," as they opened 
their windows, for the prescribed airing of rooms. 
Josephine fretfully declared it could not be. If 



OUT OF DANGER. 139 

they went to church she should get a glimpse of 
Tom, and perhaps he able to speak to him. 
Besides, she had no overshoes yet, and her thick 
boots were giving out. 

" She hated snow, and sloppy weather. She 
did not see what in the world it wanted to snow 
for at this season of the year, the second week 
in March ! " 

" Come and see for yourself, then ! ' said 
Clementina, quite as crossly, for she thought 
Josephine had been particularly " poky and dis- 
agreeable '' the last day or two. 

Her own window gave the best view of the 
sky, and determined not to make the threatening 
clouds snow, Josephine went slowly towards it. 
Both the girls were dressed for church. Cle- 
mentina wore a broadcloth Talma cloak, the 
only one in school, and prided herself on intro- 
ducing it accordingly. She had pretty chin- 
chilla furs besides, a muff, and victorine. Jose- 
phine's bright-colored highland shawl, fell in 
soft warm folds around her, and she too had a 
muff, of less expensive fur, white and black, but 
still neat and comfortable. Their bonnets were 
laid out on the bed, ready to put on at a 
moment's notice. 

" I don't believe it's snow. There, I told 



140 OUT OF DEBT, 

you so it's raining now ! ' and she stretched 
out her ungloved hand, on which she had just 
put the ring for safe-keeping in her ab- 
sence from the house, to catch the drops she 
imagined were falling. 

An instant more, and she had drawn it back, 
with a clutch and a cry. The ring was gone ! 
it had fallen from her finger, and she saw it 
dropping through the air, down, down, out of 
reach, out of sight even, as it struck a stone, 
and glanced away under the crisp, sere autumn 
leaves, that the wind had heaped beneath the 
window. 

Gone, beyond her reach ! and Clementina 
stood there, wondering at her strange cry and 
sudden paleness. 

Her first impulse to rush away along the 
hall, down the piazza, had to be restrained. 
The inexorable bell was already ringing for them 
to assemble in the great hall, and the bright, 
young faces of her school-mates were looking in 
at the door, as they passed. Clementina, for- 
getting her momentary astonishment, hurried 
on her bonnet, and was soon absorbed in tying 
the strings into the exact bow, which alone she 
considered presentable. Josephine, stunned, 
and heart-sick, followed her from the room, 



OUT OF DANGER. 141 

hoping even yet to slip away to the garden. 
The line was already formed, and passing out 
of the front door, two bv two ; she was obliged 

/ O 

to fall into her place, and follow Miss Anthon 
up the village street, and to her own place in 
the great Seminary pew, full of this new 
calamity, and with a harrowing uncertainty, as 
to the fate of the coveted, but treacherous 



ring. 



From her corner, by Miss Bailey, she saw, to 
her dismay, the snow-flakes begin to fall, and 
settle on the window-ledge, as if it was some- 
thing more than what the villagers called "a 
flurry." 

She felt that it was wicked to let her 
thoughts wander so in church, and tried again 

O J o 

and again to fix them on the service, but they 
would fly back to her troubles, and endless 
planning to find her way out of them. 

She was noted in the class-book of the mis- 
tress as inattentive, but she could not help it. 
She was scarcely "conscious of her own restless 
movements. 

Tom was there, so he was not sick, but Tom 
in Mr. Peter's train was as inaccessible to a 
Seminary girl, as if he had been shut up in the 
Arctic regions with Sir John Franklin. The 



142 OUT OF DEBT, 

Academy students were marched down one 
aisle, and turned to the left ; the Seminary 
troop walked down the other, turning to the 
right. A nod in the vestibule was all the con- 
solation Josephine gained from the sight of her 
brother ; as they were detained by the raising 
of umbrellas, and adjusting cloaks and shawls, 
to meet the storm by people in the doorway. 

There was no disputing it now, Josephine 
saw with a shiver, as their turn came. The 
snow covered the ground as in mid-winter, and 
was falling soft, and mute, and thickly still. 
To those who were prepared to meet it, it was a 
pleasant and healthful thing, battling through 
the storm, the little way they had to walk ; and 
they came in with faces glowing from the wind 
and drifting snow. But Josephine had no over- 
shoes, her feet were chilled, and she could not 
laugh with the rest at the powdered hair, which 
had suddenly come into fashion. There was no 
getting into the garden then, for she saw the 
snow had drifted across the gate. 

Of course there was no going out again in 
the afternoon, and Josephine found it wretched, 
with a book in her hand which she did not read, 
her Sunday duties neglected, and her spirits as 
chilled and miserable, as the poor little snow- 



OUT OF DANGER. 143 

birds hopping about out of doors. The storm 
ended in rain and sleet, towards night fall, as 
spring storms often do ; and the last time Jose- 
phine looked despairingly out of the window, 
she saw the clouds breaking away, and drifting 
in heavy masses across the rising moon. A 
bitter wind tossed the great pine trees of the 
wood across the common, bowing and swaying, 
with a melancholy surging music, like a loud 
organ strain from some vast instrument. Black 
shadows trooped across the snowy plain, crested 
with sleet, and down in the garden, where bare 
fruit trees and ice-bound shrubbery bent to the 
wind. There was a wild beauty in the night, 
which Josephine felt, as she lingered over the 
dreary view ; but her room-mate could not com- 
prehend it, and wondered what she could see, 
such a dark dismal evening, to keep her stand- 
ing there so long. Clementina pulled up the 
blankets, and sank slowly into a delightful nap, 
the warmth of the room and bed contrasting 
with the dreariness without, and the last time 
her eyes languidly opened, Josephine was stand- 
ing there still not yet undressed, though the 
light had been put out long before, when the 
bell rang, the fire was going down, and the room 
getting colder every minute. 



144 OUT OF DEBT, 

A sudden project had come into Josephine's 
mind, as she looked down into the garden, and 
wondered where, beneath this great white cover- 
ing, the ring was hidden. The snow might melt 
very slowly, and the ring would be ruined, or 
perhaps found and stolen before she could get 
an opportunity to search for it. Marianne 
would discover its absence, and there would be 
the shame and mortification of a public repri- 
mand, perhaps. 

But the ring must be there there within her 
reach, if she knew the precise spot whence it had 
rolled, as she was almost certain she did. It could 
not have gone farther than the roots of the 
great sweet-brier ; and as she thought of it, she 
imagined she had seen it arrested there ; that 
she could almost see it now, sparkling beneath 
the snow. 

She drew a short, quick breath, and looked 
into the room. Clementina's round, careless 
face, lay upon the pillow, in the full repose of a 
first sound sleep. How she envied it, as she 
listened to the deep, regular breathing ! It 
seemed so long since -she had been tempted to 
take the ring almost like years, instead of 
davs. Oh, if she had never seen it, or if she 

V 1 

could but hold it in her hand once more, as she 



OUT O F D A N G K R . 145 

had done that morning, and so go to Marianne 
with a free and full confession of her fault. 

All over the large building silence and dark- 
ness had fallen. The last round of the moni- 
tress had been taken, the lights died out one by 
one from the teachers' rooms, looking on to the 
play ground. Three hours before, Mrs. Platt 
had deposited the juveniles in their trundle bed, 
and herself on the cot, in the little room off the 
kitchen. What should she be afraid of? 

Josephine did not stop to hesitate longer, lest 
her forced courage should desert her. She knew 
that the outer door of the corridor was locked by 
the monitress, who kept the key, but Clemen- 
tina's window opened on the piazza, or rather 
gallery, from which a flight of stairs led to the 
play ground. If she could but snap the bolt, 
and raise the sash without awaking her ! 

She tried it first, and was successful. The 
cold night air rushed in ; Clementina only stirred, 
and turned as it touched her face, then breathed 
as regularly as before ; a woollen shawl lay on the 
chair, and wrapping it about her, the venturous 
girl climbed out upon the piazza. 

How like a guilty creature she felt, as she 
stole along under the windows, and crept down 
stairs, starting at the creak of a board, or the 



146 OUT OF DEBT, 

\ 

flapping of an unfastened shutter. But no 
window opened, no voice challenged her, and by 
the obscured moonlight she gained the garden 
safely. The crust was not sufficiently strong to 
bear her in many places ; but that was a little 
thing the cold wet snow in which she sank, 
when it gave way with a crackling sound. She 
reached the sweetbrier at last, but the snow had 
drifted heavily around it ; and she had to look 
for a broken branch to aid her search. All in 
vain, she worked with almost frantic eagerness ; 
no trace, no clue. If she only knew just where 
to remove the snow, but it was so hopeless to be 
groping there with benumbed feet and hands, 
when she might be yards from the spot. 

Suddenly the moon shone out, with a wan 
and ghastly light, on the snow, on the pine trees 
writhing in the wind, on the tall, spectral 
building before her, with its numberless windows, 
like so many curious eyes, fastened upon her 
movements. A watch dog, somewhere between 
her and the wood, he might be crouching under 
the very wall ready to spring upon her as she 
paused, commenced baying, at the moon, a long, 
low, melancholy whine, interrupted by fierce 
short barks, from some fellow guardian of the 
night ; and with the sound, and the sense of the 



O U T OF DANGER. 147 

stillness around her, as she raised her head and 
held her breath to listen, the loneliness, and 
perhaps danger of her position flashed over her 
with a great and sudden fear, that scarcely 
gave her strength to fly. 

She never clearly remembered how she gained 
her own room again ; it was all a maze of horror, 
like one struggling to walk in a dream, and pur- 
sued by phantoms. But she stood there, 
trembling, her limbs failing beneath her, her 
very blood benumbed with cold and terror, and 
her clothes clinging chill and damp about her 
feet. She crouched down on the floor by the 
unconscious sleeper, not daring to close the win- 
dow, or to undress for a long, long time ; and 
then she darted across the room, did what must 
be done without daring to look over her shoulder, 
and shrank, shivering and trembling into bed. 



148 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTER XL 



A TRUE FRIEND. 



" Open rebuke is better than secret love." 
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend.'' PROVERBS. 



' CLEAR across the gallery ! You don't say so ! ' 
exclaimed Clementina, raising her hands, as she 
stood in the midst of the group, that always 
gathered around the stove before morning 
prayers. 

" Yes," said one of the girls, " and Miss An- 
thon thinks some of the things are taken from 
the wardrobe closet in our hall, but she hasn't 
had time to look thoroughly, yet." 

" I heard a tremendous noise," said Agnes 
Hadly. " Didn't we, Ellen? like forty men 
tramping past the window." 

" Pooh ! vou always hear wonders,' said 

V V 

Ellen, contemptuously. " I didn't hear a sound. 
" There's tracks all through the garden, 
continued the principal informant. " They must 
have been prowling round." 



" 
" 



OUT OF DANGER. 149 

"Who?'' asked Josephine, who had just 
come down wrapped up in a shawl, and shiver- 
ing, as she tried to get close to the stove. 

" Thieves ! my dear, haven't you heard ? 
Mercy ! what's the matter, Joe ? you're as white 
as a ghost, and have great black circles around 
your eyes ! " 

V V 

" Nothing," said Joe shortly ; " I wish people 
would let me alone." 

" I've got a horrid sore throat," said Clem- 
entina ; " where I got it I can't imagine, unless 
coming home in the snow, yesterday." 

( Of course that was it," Josephine said, in 
the same unpleasant tone. " I wonder we did 
not all get our deaths ! ' 

" Do you know," interrupted Agnes Hadly, 
still full of the grand discovery of the morning, 
'I imagined I heard a window shut down, 
somewhere along Poverty Lane ? though I sup- 
pose it is all imagination, according to Ellen." 

You always were frightened at your 
shadow," said her sister, graciously. 

" Well, Mrs. Platt says she heard the dogs 
bark a great deal, and there's the track ; see for 
yourself." 

Josephine had not thought of this. How 
guilty and miserable she felt as she sat there 



150 OUT OF DEBT, 

among them ; her feet like ice ; though she had 
them on the stove hearth, her hands dry and 
burning. 

. The story of the robbing at the Seminary, 
though nobody could tell exactly what was 
taken, spread through the village, notwithstand- 
ing Miss Anthon did her best to prevent it. It 
had originated with Mrs. Platt, who being up 
very early, saw the track of feet, though the 
crust had been broken so irregularly, that it was 
impossible to tell whether the intruder was man 
or boy. Mrs. Platt rushed to Miss Anthon in 
her night-dress, and begged " that the constable 
should be sent for immediately, and thought 
they should have a dog held by an iron chain at 
each door, and wouldn't Miss Anthon look in 
the store room, and see if that last barrel of 
flour ' was safe ! ' So it had been talked over 
among the boarders, and been carried home by 
the day-scholars. 

Tom Bleeker heard it at the post-office on 
Wednesday evening. It was his turn to carry 
the mail bag from the Academy, and to bring 
back the letters and papers for the students. 

So " whistling as he went ' -not for want 
of thought, but to drive it out of his mind, if 
possible, as he passed the Seminary in spite of 



OUT OF DANGER. 151 

himself, the recollection of poor Joe's sad face 
on Sunday, and how shamefully he had used 
her, about spending her money, and keeping 
away from her so ; would intrude ; he had 
reached the pine woods, and resolving all sorts 
of virtuous conduct for the future, when some 
one sprang up suddenly from the shelter of the 
fence, and caught his arm. 

Tom was no coward ; but a thought of all 
the tales of witches he had ever heard came in- 
to his mind, as he shook the grasp of the un- 
known's hand off of his arm, and ejaculated, 
" Who are you ? " 

"It's me Josephine ! Oh, Tom, I must 
speak to you ! ' said a frightened voice from 
under the queer-looking hood. " Why haven't 
you been to see me ? why haven't you brought 
me my money ? I must have the money all of 
it, I want it now. Hasn't father sent you any 
yet ? " 

" No," said Tom, in a surly tone, provoked 
at being so openly " dunned " as he called it. 
" What are you doing out here, this time of 
night, and thieves around too ? ' 

" There are no thieves, it was me I went 
to hunt for the ring Marianne's ring ; I took it 
without telling her, and I've looked and looked, 



152 OUT OF DEBT, 

every chance I could get, and now the snow is 
melting so fast, and it is not there. It must 
have rolled down that great hole the moles 
made last year, don't you remember ? such an 
elegant ring ! and I must buy her another, and 
so I must have the money, Tom won't you get 
it for me ? ; 

a Where do you suppose I'm going to get, 
it ? Money doesn't grow in Kockville." 

" Don't speak so cross ! dear, dear Tom. 
I'm 50 unhappy ; I have not slept for three 
nights, and every body suspects me. Ann 
Brown must have seen me take it, she looks at 
me so ! I hate her worse than ever, and Mari- 
anne avoids me ! Oh, what sliall I do ? Can't 
you get me the money, Tom ? don't say no ! 
Frank Flanders owes you, you said so/' 

" Not half so much as I owe Charlie Spear, 
and half a dozen other boys ! There's no use 
teasing a fellow's life out, when it's an impos- 
sibility." 

" But it's mine, Tom," urged the oxcited 
girl " mother gave it to me ! ' 

" And you've lent it, and I've spent it," 
said Tom, attempting a laugh. 

" What shall I do ? ' said his sister again, 
pulling nervously at the corner of her shawl. 



OUT OF DANGER. 153 

" If I could earn it any way, I would never ask 
you for it again. I would sit up all night to 
earn it, if I only knew how. Can't you help 
me ? " 

" It was very foolish of you to borrow the 
ring, any way," said Tom, glad to lose sight of 
his own misdemeanors, as many a one had done 
before him, in lecturing some one else for 
theirs. 

"But I didn't borrow it you don't under- 
stand ! I took it without saying any thing to 
Marianne ; I thought she would not care, and I 
meant to give it back to her, right away." 

" So much the worse," said Tom, with a 
burst of virtuous indignation. "I never 
thought a sister of mine would steal ! ' 

But Josephine, crying violently now, between 
excitement and disappointment, did not retort, 
as she might have done. 

" Write to mother for it," suggested Tom, 
presently. 

" I don't dare to," sobbed Josephine. " She 
told me so often that was every cent she could 
spare, and I should have to say I lent it to you, 
you know, Tom." 

"Let her think you've spent it." 

Oh, Tom ! Tom ! counselling a sister to 



154 OUT OF DEBT, 

falsehood, and to conceal your fault ; what a 
change wrong doing has indeed wrought. 

Josephine, absorbed in her own anxiety, 
noticed only the implied self-condemnation. 
She could not do herself injustice, and shook 
her head. 

"Well, I can't stay here all night!' said 
Tom, shouldering the mail bag which he had 
rested on the stump of a tree. " It will make 
a sweet story as it is, if any one has seen us ; 
they wouldn't know it was me." 

" What else could I do ? ' said Josephine, 
humbly. " I found out it was your turn, and 
so I stole out, and hid myself here, half an 
hour ago. They were all at tea. Miss Anthon 
sent me to my room this afternoon, she said she 

V * 

knew I was sick, for I haven't had a decent 
recitation this week, my head has ached so ! 
I thought you would be sure to help me some 
way, when you knew how miserable I was." 

" You got yourself into the scrape, and you 
must get out of it, the best way you can," said 
Tom, cheeringly. "I've got troubles enough of 
my own, yours don't begin." 

" But, Tom, you don't really owe so much, 
do you ? I thought you were only trying to 
frighten me." 



OUT OF DANGER. 155 

" Don't I, though ! I wish I didn't ! " said 
Tom, with less bravado, and more settled gloom. 
It aggravated him to know that Josephine was 
in trouble too, and he could not help speaking 
crossly to her. He was full of all bitter and 
impatient thoughts, as he left her, and went on 
his way, angry at Charlie and Frank, for getting 
him " into such a scrape," as he called it, at his 
father and mother, for making him " such a 
mean allowance," and most of all, angry at him- 
self, at having been so rough towards his poor 
little sister. 

For her, the last avenue of hope was shut, 
as she walked slowly back to the house, her 
head bent down, and the hot tears falling so 
thick and fast. Marianne must know it now, 
that she had taken the ring and lost it, and 
worse still, could not replace it. How much 
Marianne would have to forgive her, if she 
forgave her at all ! And what should she say 
to Miss Anthon, who had charged her to have a 
pair of overshoes before another day, and had 
scolded her severely, because she had neglected 
to get them, and so exposed herself to sickness. 
She longed to throw herself in her mother's 
arms, and tell her all ; but her mother was far 
away, ignorant of all her unhappiness. 



156 OUT OF D K B T , 

She stopped on the landing opposite Mari- 
anne's room, to get breath ; the pain in her 
side was so very bad, going up stairs. Lately 
she had darted by it for fear of encountering her 
friend, and now, as she stood there in the black 
shadow of the unlighted hall, Miss Baily came 
out, and went down, leaving the door open 
behind her. Marianne was sitting by the study 
table, all alone, looking so good and calm, as 
the light from, the shaded lamp fell on her face, 
and the smoothly banded hair. 

Shrinking and cowering for a moment, Jose- 
phine sprang forward the next, urged by some 
irresistible influence, and sitting down on the 
floor at her friend's feet, laid her head in her 
lap, and sobbed, and sobbed, as if her heart 
would break. 

Marianne, startled as she was, asked no 
questions. She only looked down pityingly on 
the weak child, and smoothed her hair, as her 
mother would have done, with those soft hands. 
Gradually a sense of comfort came with this 
gentle caress, she ceased to sob so violently, and 
at last looked up into those loving eyes, with 
" Please don't hate me, Marianne ; please 
don't." 

" Why should I hate my poor sick little 




A True Friend. p. 156. 



OUT OF DANGER. 157 

friend ? " said Miss Fanshaw, soothingly. " I'm 
afraid you are nervous, dear, and you have been 
out too, with only this cape and hood ; you 
ought not to do so, no wonder you get sick." 

"It's not that! don't you truly know? 
Don't scold me till I get through you can't tell 
how ill it has made me. Oh, your beautiful 
ring, Marianne ! and I can't buy you another ; 
not now, I mean, and you must not ask me 
why ! " 

" Is that all ? " asked Miss Fanshaw, 
pleasantly, when the broken tale was at length 
concluded. " The ring was not of much value 
in itself." 

' f I know," interrupted Josephine, " but I 
heard you tell Helen how much you thought of 
it, from some other reason ; that was what made 
me feel the worst all the while, though you are 
very, very good, and I know pearls must cost a 
great deal ! ' 

" It was the seal ring, fortunately, the 
pearl ring was given to me by an aunt I never 
saw but twice. The seal ring was my mother's." 

" Oh, I am so thankful ! ' said Josephine, 
brightening up with sudden energy. " So very, 
very thankful. Will you tell Miss Anthon it 
was me, and not thieves ? I was so dreadfully 



158 OUT OF DEBT, 

frightened that night ! And please tell her 
not to ask me about overshoes again. I can't 
get any, and I can't tell." 

" It may be found yet," said Miss Fanshaw, 
encouragingly, " and then you would not have 
to replace it ; if I was ever so exacting ; though, 
Josephine," and here she stopped a minute, 
hesitatingly, " I do not think you have done 
exactly right." 

" I knoiv I haven't." There was so much 
humility and submission in the tone, that it was 
hard for Marianne to go on reprovingly. 

" I don't think you will mistake me, Joe ; 
truly, I do not care very much for the ring, I 
have so many, and I never wear them, as you 
know. But, dear child, all the troubles in our 
lives come from little beginnings, I have found 
that out already ; troubles that we make for 
ourselves, I mean ; those God permits, but does 
not send directly, so to speak such as come 
through our i secret faults/ our besetting sins. 
You will not think me unkind, will you, Joe ? ' 

u Oh, no ! dear Marianne ; no, indeed ! 
Please go on." 

" These are pretty little hands," continued 
Miss Fanshaw, taking one of Josephine's softly 
between her own, " and this is smooth, bright 



OUT OF DANGER. 159 

hair ; but Josephine Bleeker thinks too much 
of them, and admires them a great deal more 
than any one else does/' 

A mortified, almost angry feeling, made the 
little girl feel like snatching the hand away ; 
she wanted to be comforted after all, and not 
reproved. 

" My dear child/' said Marianne, still more 
seriously, " the deepest mortifications, and sor- 
rows and errors in a woman's life, spring from 
unchecked vanity. I know the mortifications in 
my own case, and I have seen the sorrow." 

" You ! you never were vain ! ' 

" Vainer than vanity itself, I am now, in 
the very bottom of my heart ; you don't know 
how many ways there are for it to struggle out, 
or to hide itself. But never mind now, Josephine, 
parading faults, we think we have conquered, 
is one of these ways. You know you are a pretty 
little thing Clementina admires you, and tells 
you of it continually ; the girls praise your 
compositions, and look up to you, there in your 
class ; Miss Anthon has too much to see to, to 
have time for studying character closely. You 
have a great many temptations now, Joe, and 
if you don't begin in earnest, you will have more 



160 OUT OF DEBT, 

falls, and harsher judgments than mine. You 
can trust my love/' 

It was very unpalatable truth, for all that, 
and Josephine did not look up, or speak ; the 
consciousness that Marianne was right made the 
wound sorer. 

" Now, I am going to see you safely in bed/' 
said Miss Fanshaw, seeing that Josephine's cold 
was worse than even she herself had realized, in 
the strength that anxiety had given her, and 
playfully raising the reluctant head. " No more 
midnight, or twilight rambles, if you please, 
Miss Bleeker, or I shall feel in duty bound to 
report you:'' 

But Josephine, making a great effort to 
overcome the unjust and unkind feelings that 
were springing up, kissed her true friend with 
real warmth, and went to her room alone. She 
knew that Clementina had permission to study 
in one of the other rooms, lest the glare of the 
lamp should trouble her, as it often did when 
she had those bad headaches, and she wanted 
to be all alone, to think. 

It was a very rambling and interrupted self- 
examination, but it was the beginning of the 
hardest of all studies, " self-knowledge." She 
traced back her troubles to the very commence- 



OUT OF D A N G K 11 . 161 

merit, on that pleasant Saturday, when she had 
written the wonderful poem, and found it was 
the boyish flattery of her brother's friend, which 
had decided her to lend money that she actually 
needed ; she had not even the satisfaction of 
feeling that it was purely to oblige Tom. Then 
she wondered that sh.e had not thought, at the 
time, she was helping Tom in what, seemed 
to be his besetting sin. 

Marianne was certainly right about vanity 
being at the bottom of the borrowed ring. Then 
can a glimmering of her mother's rule about 
thnt, and many other things she had thought 
h: i and over strict. A sense of shame and re- 
m >rse for unjust thoughts towards this kind, 
loving mother, brought a feeling nearer to 
humility than Josephine had ever known before, 
and as she rose from asking forgiveness of her 
Father in Heaven, she thought nothing could 
ever tempt her to err again ; she was sure she 
could not, having suffered so much. There was 
one thing, only, forgotten* in Josephine's prayer, 
and penitence, the most important of all ; but 
she did not know yet, that " of herself she could 
do nothing.'' 



162 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTER- XII. 

FAMILY DISCUSSIONS. 

" Debt, like the moth, makes valueless furs and velvets." 

DOUGLAS JERKOLD. 

IF Josephine could have seen " what they were 
all doing at home r ' that night, as she wished, 
in falling asleep, she would have found the 
table still standing, waiting for her father to 
come in to tea, and Oily at one of the front win- 
dows watching for him by the glare of the street 
lamps, upon the slippery pavement. 

Mrs. Bleeker, sewing by her little work-table, 
her hands were never idle now, not even to 
take up the new books and magazines she so 
much loved to read, glanced up at the clock 
occasionally, as her needle flew in and out the 
little apron she was making almost mechanically. 
It was well the work was plain, for she sighed now 
and then, quite as unconsciously as she threaded 



OUT OF DANGER. 163 

her needle, like one who checks herself in a 
train of dreary thoughts and speculations, only 
to take it up, and go on again, more wearily 
than before. 

" Here comes a carriage/' said Olive, putting 
her little round head out from her tent-like 
hiding-place. "It's going to stop here yes, 
somebody's getting out." 

" Perhaps some friend has brought papa 
home," said Mrs. Bleeker, a little uneasily. It 
was so very late, but then it often was now ; 
Olly's watch . was almost nightly, and Mrs. 
Bleeker accomplished a great deal more sewing 
before tea, than she did afterwards. 

" No, it's a lady in a cloak and hood," said 
Oily, turning back to the window. " Why, if 
it isn't aunt Lucy ! ' and she ran into the hall, 
to open the door herself for this favorite and 
fascinating aunt, her mother's only sister. 

Aunt Lucy kissed Olive for her attentions, 
and throwing off her satin lined hood, went into 
the back parlor. It was only an opera cloak 
that she wore, after all, of white cashmere, trim- 
med with swan's down, and very becoming to 
her fair round arms and throat. Her hair was 
elegantly dressed, with a garland of moss roses, 
BO like nature, that the inexperienced Olive was 



164 OUT OF DEBT, 

completely deceived, and wondered where they 
could have grown at this season of the year. 
Broad hoops of gold clasped her snow-white 
gloves at the wrist, and a faint breath of per- 
fume, so faint as to be enjoyed with scarcely 
noticing it, was wafted from the tiny embroidered 
handkerchief she held so daintily. Olive walked 
around her ample flounces admiringly, and 
thought that aunt Lucy was a great deal pret- 
tier than a picture, as she wondered that her 
mother never went to the Opera, or wore even- 
ing dresses now. The very thing that " Aunt 
Lucy/' Mrs. Hamilton, was saying. 

" And where do you keep yourself, Kate ? I 
don't know how many people have asked me if 
you have entirely given up society/' 

" I should scarcely think they would ask, 
when they know what a nursery full I have," said 
Mrs. Bleeker, warding off the direct attack upon 
her conduct and intentions. 

" Well, come this once I know you are 
asked," urged Mrs. Hamilton; " it's not too late 
to dress, now ; I came around early on purpose. 
Come, now ! ' 

Olive looked up from an inspection of the 
carving on her aunt's inlaid fan, and wondered 



OUT OF DANGER. 165 

\ 

what she called late. Their clock said, quarter 
of nine, and nine was her very latest bed-time. 

" I have nothing to wear, to begin with," 
said her mother. 

" Oh yes, you have/' interrupted Mrs. 
Hamilton, " that silk you wore on New- Year's. 
Henry said it was very becoming, and your 
Honiton cape, then your India scarf around 
your shoulders, and there you are/' 

"No, here I am, and here I intend to stay, 
Lucy." There was playfulness and firmness 
both in Mrs. Bleeker's tone. " Besides, I have 
never worn the scarf, I do not consider that it 
is mine ! ' 

" Not yours ! why, who in the world does it 
belong to ? ' 

" I think it's about bed-time, Oily," said 
Mrs. Bleeker, instead of answering her ; and 
Olive, who had taken supper with the children at 
dark, laid down the fan, very unwillingly, it must 
be owned, and looked her last on aunt Lucy, and 
her fascinating toilette. 

" Who does it belong to ? ' resumed Mrs. 

t? 

Hamilton, when the door had closed upon the . 
reluctant Olive. 

" To Mr. Bleeker's creditors," said her sister, 
quietly taking up her sewing. 



166 OUT OF DEBT, 

"What in the world are you thinking of, 
Kate ? " said Mrs. Hamilton, with a look of 
alarm, " Kichard hasn't failed/' 

" No. I only wish he had/' 

" Wish he had ! why, you are crazy ! you 
don't know what you are talking about ! ' 

" Yes, I do, perfectly well. Nothing would 
be expected of us then, and there would be the 
end of this perpetual worry." 

" Oh," said Mrs. Hamilton, much relieved, 
" haven't you got used to it yet ? I never 
mind Henry more than the wind, when he says 
he can't afford things. I only say I must have 
it, and there's the end of it. He frets and 
fusses, but la, child, all men do, he gets over it," 

" Mr. Bleeker i fusses' the other way, because 
I won't go out, and won't get things ; but how 
can I, when I don't know they will ever be paid 
for. No, I cannot do it, Lucy, any more than I 
could steal." 

"Every body else does," said Mrs. Hamilton, 
disliking the implied rebuke to her opinions. 
" We are no worse than our neighbors. It's all 
grandmother, and uncle Peter." 

" I wish I was back there now, children 
and all, indeed, I do, Lucy ; you need not look 
BO incredulous/ 



IT T OF DANGER. 167 

"Every one to their liking," and Mrs. 
Hamilton shrugged her white shoulders, from 
which the light cloak had fallen. " I would not 
go back for all New York, nothing could tempt 
me ! The very thought of such a humdrum, 
old-fashioned, countrified, hard-working exist- 
ence, makes me sick ! Uncle Peter, too." 

" We owe every thing to him," said Mrs. 
Bleeker warmly, " and Lucy, I do wisli you 
would write once in a while. I had a letter this 
morning, and I know he feels hurt." 

" Oh, I never have a minute ; and besides, I 
don't like to be reminded of the time I could 
e eat without silver forks,' as Cornelia Holbrooke 
says." 

"I'd rather eat with steel ones and know 
they belonged to me ! I'm sick I'm worn out 
with this bondage of keeping up appearances." 

" Half New York are keeping you com- 
pany," said Mrs. Hamilton provokingly, "and 
half the world besides. Don't worry about your 
husband's business affairs, for mercy sake, Kate ! 
I don't ; I should have a nice time of it if I 
did ! " 

" Here he comes now ! ' 

Mr. Bleeker had let himself in with a dead 
latch key, and came in with a compliment to 



168 OUT OF DEBT, 

Mrs. Hamilton, whom he admired greatly ; but 
for all the smile and bantering, there was a 
worn, harassed look in every line of his face, 
and a cloud settled down over it as he returned 
to the parlor, after seeing her into the carriage. 
It was not moroseness, or fretfulness, only 
gloom, and despondency, harder still for his wife 
to see. 

" What was Lucy rattling on about, when I 
came in ? " he said presently, trying to shake off 
this mood. " No, never mind pouring me any 
tea ; I don't want any thing ; I could not eat 
any thing to-night." 

" Dear Richard, how is all this to end ? ' 
Mrs. Bleeker said, suddenly rising and coming to 
his side. 

"I wish I knew,'' he answered with a groan. 
" My hands are tied whichever way I turn. I 
wish you'd go out more, Kate. Why not have 
gone with Lucy to-night ? people begin to 
think strange of it, she says." 

"I don't care, we can't go without incurring 
obligations we cannot afford to return ; that's 
one thing then I do not feel easy about the 
children. I believe honestly I have lost all 
taste for what we call society. But Richard, 
why do you live so why not settle up at once, 



OUT OF DANGEB. 169 

and pay off what you can, arid begin again ? 
other people do ! ' 

" You don't know what you are talking 
about/' said Mr. Bleeker, hastily. " I can keep 
along, somehow, but I could not begin to pay 
off every thing." 

" Well, why not divide what you have, and 
pay the rest when you can ; surely that would 
be better than this wearing, harassed life. 
Brooks has sent in his bill again to-day ,^,nd St. 
Legers' came last week, though I could not bear 
to tell you of it, and " 

" Yes, I knew, and forty more. All very 
well, Kate, but you and the children must live ; 
and if I give up all, what am I to do ? ' 

" I wish you had been brought up in the 
country ! " 

"What has that got to do with it ? Yes, 
so do I ; I should not have had such expensive 
habits. I did want to go on a farm, when I 
was a boy, I always thought I should like it, 
but father would not listen to it." 

" Why not try it yet ? ' said his wife, with 
a sudden light coming into her eyes. 

" I'm too old to begin experimenting and 
new land takes capital. I've thought it all 

over," and Mr. Bleeker shook his head. " I 
8 





170 OUT OF DEBT, 

couldn't bear corning clown in the world, you 
could not, all our friends would be mortified. 
It sounds very well in story books, I know. 
People move out West, and make their fortunes 
in four years, and come back to astonish every 
body ! But it is not so in real life. A failure 
is disgraceful, the best way you can fix it." 

" Surely, nothing can be more disgraceful 
than debt ! 3 interrupted Mrs. Bleeker. 

"Owning up to debt ! that's it- -it's the 
poverty, and not the dishonesty that people cry 
out about, and cut you for ! I know all about 

/ v 

these fine Western stories. I've seen log houses, 
and eaten corn bread, and fried pork ; you 
could not. live on it and I don't want you and 
the children down with fever and ague." 

" Have you the least idea how you stand ? ' 

" Not the slightest ! I have not gone over 
things thoroughly for three years. I have not 
dared to ! ' 

c Oh, if you only could pay off all ! ' said 
Mrs. Bleeker, energetically. 

" I should have to sacrifice every thing, and 
perhaps not do it then. What would I have to 
start on ? farming takes capital, as well as any 
thing else ! No, no, if I can't swim, I must 
float ." 



OUT OF D A N G E it . 1*71 

"Dear Richard/' said Mrs: Bleeker again, 
" I know it's hard ; but you need not experiment 
or take new land. There's the old farm ; uncle 
Peter would be thankful to have us come, he says 
so he's getting old, but there would be his expe- 
rience. He says in his very last letter, that he 
wishes I was a man, and he could feel the old 
place would be left in my hands. Bead it " and 
she drew the letter from her work table, and sat 
watching his face eagerly as he studied over the 
stiff, cramped hand, conveying so much love and 
kindness to his adopted child. 

But for all, Mr. Bleeker acknowledged that 
it was very kind, and to be sure she deserved 
the farm twice as much as Lucy ; the thing was 
perfectly impossible in his opinion. 

Mrs. Bleeker did not despair. It was the 
first clue that she had found conducting from 
this labyrinth of difficulties, and she would not 
easily let it go. When she went up to bid her 
little ones a final good night, and see that the 
baby was covered, she sat down on the foot of 
Peter's bed, with a little shoe that she had 
stumbled over in her hand, and thought it all 
over a r v iin. But the picture was almost too 
brigho for one who had lived in the shade so long ; 
these little sleepers rolling about in the soft 



172 OUT OK i> K r. 'i 1 , 

velvety grass of the lawn, before the farm-house ; 
growing strong and vigorous in the freedom-, 
and fresh air ; her husband with this weary 
weight lifted from his spirits, frolicking with the 
baby, as he had not done since Josephine occu- 
pied the well-worn cradle ; her own mind calm, 
serene, and tranquil, in the round of daily duties 
and simple pleasures. 

" Oh, if he could only understand how wil- 
lingly I would go/' she said to herself, stooping 
down to kiss the flushed face of the little 
sleeper ; and then seized by a sudden impulse, 
she knelt down to pray, while her hands were 
knit together in an intense, and it seemed almost 
hopeless longing. 

But for a time there was onlv a confused re- 

v 

bellious struggling against her present trials, 
and a miserable retrospect of the past. " If it was 
God's will if I could but feel it was God's will ! 
I would try to be patient, try to bear it ! All 
these weary years all this dreary future ! and 
my children to grow up with the same fault, to 
suffer the same punishment. Oh, I cannot I 
cannot bear it ! ' 

Then came a remembrance of the blessings 
mingled in this bitter cup, her faith in her 
husband's love, and real tenderness for her ; the 



OUT OF DANGEK. 173 

very wish to indulge and please her, leading him 
on in his careless expenditure, her children all 
remaining, the little band unbroken, when so 
many a mother grieved over an empty cradle, or 
a new-made grave, this, then, was her cross, 
this continual annoyance and petty mortification, 
this thwarting of her wishes, this breaking in on 
habits of order, and regularity, and honesty, that 
had become a second nature, in the strict train- 
ing of her children, what was it, but that daily 
denial of wishes and of iuill y without which, self 
is never conquered. 

And when the prayer was uttered at last, it 
was for submission, and strength, and patience 
to bear the cross, not to have it removed. 



174 O U T O F 1) E 15 T , 



CHAPTER XIII. 

NEWS FROM HOME. 

" Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit befora a fall." 

THE first soft, languid days of early spring 
began to brighten up the sombre pine woods at 
Rockville, where the school-girls sought for the 
earliest flowers, and brushed the fallen leaves 
away for the glossy wintergreen, and its scarlet 
berries. 

Their walks were far more invigorating than 
the dull round of fifteen blocks, which the 
boarders at a fashionable city school accom- 
plished, as they do their lessons, because it is 
one of the rules, and with a very faint idea 
that exercise is intended to stimulate the lan- 
guid pulse, and brighten the brain, over- wearied 
by problems and propositions, and unending 
verbs. 



OlTT OF DANGER. 175 

Here, in the seclusion of village life, a walk 
was a very different matter. It was not con- 
sidered necessary for the older girls to be ac- 
companied by a teacher, and instead of the pro- 
cession, " tall at the top," and shortened, as 
the ages of the demure couples lessen, they 
went out by twos and threes, choosing their 
companions, and their route. Josephine's class 
had been allowed this liberty of late, and " a 
walk," with them, was an affair of moment, 
arranged two or three days beforehand, the 
projectors settling who should go, and who 
" would be in the way." To be sure, heart- 
burnings and jealousies would grow out of it, 
and some declared, " they wouldn't go if they 
had been asked," who did not mean what 
they said while others tossed their heads, 
and " thanked fortune they were as good as 
any body, if some people did not think so." 

A little knot of the unasked had gathered 
themselves together, and were walking up and 
down th,c playground, with their arms around 
each pther, on this particular afternoon. There 
was the yoimgest, Miss Dana, though the oldest 
;irl in her class, very dull and behindhand with 
har lessons, she was a sparkling, bright-eyed girl ; 
Angelique Tona, a Cuban by birth, though she 



176 OUT OF DEBT, 

had not seen Havana the last five years, who 
made more mischief with her busy tongue, than 
any other two girls in school put together ; 
Ada Thomas, a cross, sullen, sickly child, a 
Southerner, who had never " put on her own 
stockings, or hemmed a handkerchief," as slic 
often complained to the others, before she came 
North, where she had to do every thing for 
herself, and well it was for her that she was 
obliged to ; Eliza and Eowana Gourlay, two 
of the party, came from a neighboring town, 
and were remarkable for nothing in particular, 
but being careless, and negligent, and curious, 
-the fault of early training from children,- 
but they were not the less disagreeable for that. 

Angelique was not remarkable for her con- 
stancy to either party. Now she was Agnes 
Hadly's devoted confidant, and then she would 
go over to the enemy for the sake of being made 
much of, and extracting sufficient material to 
carry the war into Josephine's set again. 

She usually sided with the person she was 
talking to, but quarrelled on the slightest pre- 
text, and often without any pretext at all. 
Just now she was " out '- with Clementina and 
Josephine, consequently she was warmly wel- 
comed by the others. If Clementina had been 



OUT OF DANGER. 177 

as clever as Josephine, in addition to her hand- 
some wardrobe, and pretty face, she would have 
been the oracle of her party ; but her room- 
mate, with just as much beauty, more style, 
and twice the intelligence, generally had an 
uncontested leadership ; consequently, the un- 
graciousness of their opponents was especially 
directed towards her. 

" What the fourth-year girls see in that 
stuck-up Josephine Bleeker, I can't tell, for 
my part/' said the awkward Harriet Dana. 
" Why, I'm a head taller, and they never ask 
me into their rooms." 

" But then there's so little in your head, 
when you get to it," Angelique wished very 
much to say, but it would not have been 
polite, just then, so she contented herself with 
adding, " I don't see ! ' 

"My father is twice as rich as hers, any 
day," said Ada Thomas, fretfully. " He could 
buy half Georgia, if he liked. I don't believe 
they even keep a carriage, and we have a coach- 
man and three waiter-boys, Ma has seventeen 
servants on the lot ! ' and " Ma's ' daughter 
looked as if that fact alone should entitle her 
to the highest consideration. 

" I guess they're poor and proud, for my * 
8* 



178 O LI T OF D K 15 T , 

part," said one of the Gourlays. "She's the 
vainest girl / ever saw. Her compositions 
aint so wonderful, after all," just then the 
pedestrians came in sight, at some distance, it 
is true, on the top of " Sugar Camp," a neigh- 
boring hill. 

Josephine, in their midst, was talking rapidly 
and loud ; she was in the highest spirits, and on 
the best of terms with herself. She sometimes 
wondered how she could have been so miserable 
such a little while ago, now that it was so hap- 
pily over with. Miss Anthon had purchased the 
overshoes, and charged them in her school bill ; 
Marianne never mentioned the ring, and seemed 
entirely to forget the occurrence ; and though Tom 
had not yet returned the loan, Josephine had 
made her pencils last wonderfully, and found it 
was possible to mend her gloves. She loved 
Tom dearly, with all their sparring when to- 
gether, and felt so sorry that he was worried, 
that she gradually gave up all thoughts of the 
bracelet ; and as forr eplacing the ring, she had 
a hundred plans for getting the money, the latest 
of all was, sending two of her best "poems" to 
a magazine publisher, with undefined visions of 
possible sums that she was to receive in return. 
" It was almost time to hear from Philadelphia," 



OUT OF DANGER. 179 

she whispered to Clem, who was in the secret, as 
the stage with the great leathern mail bag under 
the driver's feet rolled by them ; and her color 
mounted higher, and her laugh grew louder at 
the thought. 

If the worst came to the worst, she could 
take the five dollars for the next term, and buy 
another ring with that ; she had a feeling of 
mortification at not being able to replace it at 
once, more from, wondering what Marianne 
thought of it, and whether she would think her 
father was too poor to give her the money ; and 
she had various other occasional annoyances at 
being penniless, that her brother's " generosity ' 
had occasioned her. But in the main, she ad- 
mired herself very much, and certainly did 
"take airs' ; enough to deserve some of the 
severe remarks that were just then being made 
about her. 

" Are you coming back next term ? ' asked 
Agnes Hadly, who hated school, and was very 
much in hopes that she should not. 

" Oh, of course ! ' answered Josephine, with 
one of those very airs, "I am to go through 
regularly, and then have a year's finishing les- 



Bons/ 



" I mean to tease Ma into letting me have 



180 OUT OF DEBT, 

Belletti," said Clementina. " He's so fashion- 
able, all the girls in Brooklyn have him, he 
comes over twice a week." 

"My!" said Agnes Hadly, "he asks forty 
dollars a quarter." 

" I don't care if he asks sixty," said Miss 
Jones, with a toss. 

" No, nor I ? ' said Josephine, " I mean to 
have him, too." 

" I wish my father was rich/' sighed Agnes, 
who was a great deal too honest and out-spoken 
to please her sister. Ellen was continually 
checking some of her revelations. 

" Shouldn't you hate to have to sweep and 
dust and make your own bed, always, as we have 
to at school ? " said Clem, falling behind a little, 
and adding in a lower voice, " It must be horrid 
to be poor ! ' 

" Oh, that's nothing to dragging about with 
the children," said Agnes, not at all offended. 
" Only I'd rather do that even than to have to 
study, they're so cross and heavy, and you never 
have a minute to yourself. As soon as one 
hushes, another begins. Ellen never would touch 
the children. She had to sew, though." 

" I wouldn't sew for any body," said Clem, 



OUT OF DANGER. 181 

who hated to touch her needle, except for fancy 
work. 

" Nor I," said Josephine. " You don't say 
you make your own underclothes ! ' 

" Mother says/' and Agnes did bridle up a 
little " mother says every woman ought to 
know how to sew, no matter how rich she is ! 
and there are a great many worse things than 
being poor." 

Josephine had heard her own mother say the 
same many a time ; and Olive, who had been 
more with her mother, was already an accom- 
plished little seamstress. 

" Miss Fanshaw makes her own clothes, all 
but her dresses," suggested some one. 

" I don't believe they're so very wealthy/' 
said Clem, "after all. She dresses as common 
as possible." 

" She does riot have to, though," broke in 
Josephine, eager to uphold her friend, " to my 
certain knowledge. Marianne says, she doesn't 
think it is right to spend so much in clothes/' 

" I'd rather be poor than mean," Agnes said, 
a little spitefully, for she was jealous of Jose- 
phine's intimacy with one of the fourth-year 
girls. 



182 OUT OF DEBT, 

" She's not in the least mean, Agnes Had- 

ly!" 

" Oh, well ! ' said Agnes, " don't take my 
head off ; you're spilling all your moss and berries, 
swinging your basket so hard. There comes 
Ellen from the post-office, I wonder if there's 
any thing for me." 

Ellen kept them at arm's length, until they 
reached the Seminary, when Angelique and her 
malcontents closed around her too. Letters 
from home were common cause, and all petty 
quarrels were for the time overlooked. 

" Who bids ? ' said Ellen, holding the large 
packet of letters and newspapers high above her 
head. Was there ever any thing more tantali- 
zing than to see those white and yellow envel- 
opes, those nicely wrapped newspapers, and not 
to know who they belonged to ! 

" There must be one for me," fretted Ada 
Thomas. " I wish you wouldn't be hateful, 
Miss Hadly." 

" That's a good way to be helped first, but 
you may make yourself easy, there isn't any. 
Here, Angelique, here's a paper for you, that's 
all. Dana, there's three Danas," said Ellen, 
shuffling the letters at last, like an accomplished 
post-office clerk. " Pocket money, Clem ? " 



OUT OF DANG E II . 183 

and a suspiciously thick envelope fell to Miss 
Jones. " Fanshaw, Anthon, Anthon, Fanshaw 
again, Clark, Brown, Adams ; why, Joe, I thought 
I had something for you. Yes, here it is, the 
very last one." 

" Oh," said Josephine, eagerly, thinking for 
a moment the looked-for decision had arrived. 
" Where's it from ? who is yours from, Clem ? ' 

Clementina, absorbed in her own epistle, did 
not answer or even look up again until she saw 
Josephine start up from the piazza stairs, where 
several of them sat down, too impatient for the 
news to go any further, and rush away to their 
room. 

" What's the matter ? where's Joe gone? ' 
she asked Agnes. 

" Why, it was so funny did you see her, 
Ada ? well, she read about three lines, and 
then looked down to the bottom of the page, 
and then she just started up. My ! such a face ! 
as if she had as much as she could do to keep 
from crying, and ran off as hard as she could." 

" Dear me ; I hope nobody's sick Olive, 
or any of them," said Clem, familiar Avith the 
household names. 

" Or dead," suggested Agnes, consolingly. 

" I must go right away and see ; ' so leav- 



184 U T F D E Ii T , 

ing a murmur, of wondering and guessing all 
sorts of probable calamities behind, Clementina 
followed her friend. 

The door was bolted on the inside. 

" Joe let me in ; it's only me/' shouted 
Clementina, through the key-hole. 

" Oh, oh, oh dear, what shall I do ! " sobbed 
Josephine's voice, instead of a reply. 

" What is the matter? do open the door, 
dear, dear Joe it's Clementina ; for pity's sake, 
what's the matter ? ' 

Thus adjured, Josephine unfastened the 
bolt, revealing her tear-swollen face, and dis- 
ordered hair, for a moment, before she threw 
herself headlong on the floor again, as she was 
very apt to do, when any thing worried her, 
and cried afresh. 

" What is it ? " besought Clementina, decid- 
ing rapidly that not only Olive, but Peter and 
Kate must be dead, probably of scarlet fever. 
" Or is it the poem ? I wouldn't care I'm sure 
I wouldn't care for that, dear ; we all know how 
sweetly you do write, if all the ugly old editors 
in the world- 

" Oh ! it isn't that. Oh, Clementina 
father lias failed! ' 

Clementina was silenced by this unexpected 



OUT OF DANGER. 185 

blow. With Josephine, she regarded such a 
calamity beyond all consolation, so she sat down 
and cried too ; while Angelique, who had fol- 
lowed up-stairs, and stood by the window, flew 
away to spread the disagreeable intelligence. 

" What will you do ? " sobbed Miss Jones. 

" Oh, I don't know ! " sobbed Miss Bleeker, 
back again. " I never can hold ray head up ; 
don't cry, Clementina." 

" I can't help it ; oh, Joe ! ' and she 
squeezed Josephine's hand in real true-hearted 
sympathy. 

" Every thing is going to be sold off the 
piano and all and father's going going- 
going off to live with Uncle Peter, way out of 
the world ! ; 

" You, poor child, you dear, dear, dear ! ' 
cried Clementina, rocking herself backwards 
and forwards. " You shan't go, not one step 
you shall live with us always ! ' 

Kather a rash promise for a girl of twelve 
to make, but Clementina was very sincere in 
her offer, and it comforted Josephine for a time. 
" Only think," said she, sitting up and drying 
her eyes, " way off in the woods, dear knows 
where. On a farm ! " 



186 OUT OF DEBT, 

"Horrors!'' returned Clem. "Are they 
going right away 1 ' 

" They've (/one, actually gone ! by this 
time ; and Tom and I are to finish our term, 
and not come hack again. Poor Tom ! he hates 
the country just as I do. I think father and 
mother must he crazy, don't you ? ' 

" I wouldn't mind it a hit, if I was you ; ' 
and then, by way of setting a brave example, 
Clementina burst into tears again herself. " I 
will write to ma, there, to-night, to ask you to 
spend the summer, at the very least. Of course 
they'll come to the city every winter." 

" I don't know," said Josephine, doubtfully. 
" It's a dreadful place, Clementina ; I was 
there once, a great many years ago, when I was 
a little girl. And Uncle Peter's such a horrid 
old man, and smokes a pipe, and uses a red 
silk handkerchief ! ' At which climax the for- 
titude of the moment gave way again, and not 
even Clementina's bravest arguments could 
check the tide, until Josephine had cried her- 
self into a sick headache. Every time the bell 
rans:, she was sure Tom had come to talk over 

O7 

the dreadful disgrace with her ; but, as usual, 
when he was expected, no Torn came. Jose- 
phine had a very indistinct idea of what a 



OUT OF DANGER. 187 

failure was. She knew that it was considered 
a great mortification, and that people would 
call her father "poor Bleeker," and shake their 
heads, as she had seen him do over others. She 
pictured to herself the auction, and her mother 
and the children crying, and her father in one 
of -those terribly cross moods, which they all 
dreaded so. And she would have to sew, and 
help Oily take care of the- children for Mrs. 
Bleeker said that only Susan, the cook, was 
going with them into the country. There was 
no comfort whichever way she turned, but in 
Clementina's proposal that she should go home 
with her, and she did not believe her mother 
would consent to that. 

Great was the commotion all over the school, 
and some pitied Josephine, while others said it 
" served her right/' and were curious to see 
how she would conduct herself under her altered 
fortunes. Miss Fanshaw sat with her all the 
next morning, and bathed her head, and talked 
with her, as Miss Fanshaw always talked, kindly 
and sensibly. She had heard of Mr. Bleeker's 
failure through Miss Anthon, to whom he had 
written about Josephine some days before, and 
from her own father, who said it was a very 
honorable thing, and every one was paid almost 



188 OUT OF DEBT. 

/ 

in full ; that Mr. Bleeker had given up every 
thing, and behaved so well, that his creditors 
wished to make some arrangement for him to 
go on again, but he had made up his mind not 
to do so ! 

Josephine, who had listened eagerly thus 
far, turned away her head, and said, crossly, 
" that she wished he had gone on, and she 
hated the country, and meant to stay with 
Clementina as long as she could." 

" Not if your mother needs you/' said 
Marianne ; but Josephine did not wish to dis- 
cuss the matter. 

Clementina certainly behaved very well, 
considering how much she thought of wealth 
and fashion ; and in due course of time, the 
promised invitation was received from Mrs. 
Jones, who said that she had written to Mrs. 
Bleeker about it ; but before then, a fresh 
trouble awaited Josephine, if possible, more un- 
locked for, and harder to bear. 

We might as well acknowledge, first as last, 
that from the Philadephia publisher, no answer 
ever came ; he having too much to attend to, 
to be able to make each " rejected address ' 
the subject of a separate letter. 



OUT OF DANGER. 189 



CHAPTER XIV. 

s 

THE CRISIS. 

" A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of 
his mother." PROVERBS. 

TOM was gone. He had found himself so in- 
volved in debt and disgrace, that he had taken 
the coward's way out of difficulties and fled from 
them. 

Yet, so strangely "blind was he, to the real 
truth of the case, that he imagined he was doing 
a very daring and clever thing, when he made 
up a bundle of things he considered necessary, 
and leaving a letter in a conspicuous place on 
the mantle in his room, he had let himself out 
of the Brick an hour before daylight, with his 
bundle hung on the end of a cane he had once 
gloried in possessing, and trudged off on foot 
like a runaway apprentice. 

" The world was all before him, where to 
choose," and tossing up a penny to decide which 



190 OUT OF DEBT, 

road to take, he stepped along rather fast, until 
he considered himself safe from the ignominy of 
being discovered and brought back again to a 
public reprimand. That would be a very dull 
termination to the adventure, though he might 
well be thankful if nothing worse befell him. 

" I wonder what father will think now ! ' ' he 
said to himself, after the first excitement of the 
escape was over, and he slackened his pace a 
little. 

The immediate cause of his departure was 
the receipt of a letter from his father, to whom 
he had at last written for a remittance, shaded 

J O 

on by Charlie Spear's repeated dunning, and a 
threat from Kelly that their bill should be sent 
to head-quarters if they did not settle up. The 
upholsterer's account for carpet and curtains had 
also come in, and was of course twice as much 
as they expected it to be, while several who had 
subscribed at first to refurnishing to use Frank 
Flander's inelegant but forcible expression had 
"backed out." The boys slighted him, now 
that he no longer had ready money, and Charlie 
Spear, suspecting something of the truth in the 
matter of the allowance, was particularly insult- 
ing. Even Joe Ferris, whom he had obliged 
again and again, gave many a sly thrust and 



OUT OF DANGER. 191 

taunt on the play ground, or recitation room, 
where he put on twice as much braggadocia as 
ever, in a flimsy attempt to cover his secret dis- 
quiet. 

As for the real object of his being at Kock- 
ville, he had gone backwards, rather than 
advanced, in his studies and general deportment 
the present term. An uneasy conscience, a 
restless mind full of useless expedients, and ir- 
ritable suspicions, were bad assistants for the 
fulfilment of duties, for this life, or the higher ob- 
ligation of preparation for another. Tom tried 
to leave the last out of his meditations alto- 
gether, and succeeded almost entirely ; he could 
not have dwelt upon it seriously, and persisted 
in such a course. 

He found himself stooping to petty mean- 
ness and deception he would once have despised, 
such as his conduct to Josephine, which even 
her generous forbearance did not make him for- 
get. She welcomed him, with the same fond- 
Bess and pride, as soon as her own troubles were 
cleared up, and laughed as heartily at his jokes, 
and nonsense, or bore his boyish fault-finding 
with wonderful patience and humility. 

" Poor Joe, when I come back a rich man, 
I'll bring her the most elegant bracelet that ever 



192 O U T OF D E B T , 



was seen, see if I don't/' said oar young travel- 
ler, as he caught the last glimpse of the Sem- 
inary "buildings, and never thinking of the anxiety 
and mortification the discovery of his flight 
would he to her. As for his father's failure, he 
knew nothing ahout it; that same day's mail 
would bring the letter explaining the harshness 
and bitterness, as he called it, the answer his ap- 
plication for money had contained. It arrived 
just in the midst of Mr, Bleeker's perplexities, 
when lie was making up his mind to follow his 
wife's advice, and give up all to his creditors. 
He could trace in Tom's half confession an in- 
dulgence of the same fault that had commenced 
with himself quite as early, and had brought 
him to this pass reckless generosity, careless 
self-indulgence, openness to flattery, and a dread 
of ridicule. 

So forgetting what his own example and in- 
fluence had been, " that the sins of the fathers 
were visited upon the children," he wrote an 
angry rebuke and denial on the impulse of the 
moment. 

It had the effect that such ill-judged correc- 
tions usually have. Tom might have been soft- 
ened by a cooler and more dignified sentence, or 
if the letter had expressed any desire to receive 



O IT T OF DANGER. 193 

the confidence lie was longing to give to some 
one, and surety a father is the friend one would 
naturally seek at such a time. If he wrote to 
his mother, it would be all the same he thought. 
" No ! he would not stoop to sue for help and 
pardon again ! He would look out for himself; 
he could show them that there was more in him 
than they thought there was ! They would be 
glad enough to see him when he came back 
again, rolling in wealth, to pay off every thing ! ' 

For Tom, who had never even earned his 
pocket money as many boys do, had very grand 
but indistinct ideas of " the battle of life," and 
so he started in it literally a foot soldier. 

" A slice of bread and cheese wouldn't be 
hard to take ! ' he was obliged to confess to 
himself, when he had walked about three miles, 
and imagined it was ten at least ; " or a cup of 
old Mother Allen's coffee ! Isn't there a pre- 
cious row about this time. Old Peter carrying 
my note to the desk, and the Professor forward- 
ing it to the Governor, and he post-hasting it to 
Rockville. I guess he'll wish he had ponied up 
handsomely. I hope mother won't take it hard; 
mother's right up and down, but she never flies 
out at a fellow, and calls him names/' there was 
a little faltering in the cheery whistle that 



194 OUT OF DEBT, 

Master Tom tried to keep up, trudging inde- 
pendently along, as he thought of his mother's 
anxiety, and the true, unwavering love and kind- 
ness he had always received from her. He re- 
solved to let her hear from him, the first one, at 
any rate. 

The spirit of adventure sustained him 
tolerably well, all through that day. He 
passed through Franklin before nightfall, so 
that he knew he was fourteen miles away. He 
had fared sumptuously on crackers and a red 
herring, bought with one of the very few pieces 
of silver remaining to him ; and concluded to 
take up his quarters at a dilapidated roadside 
tavern, for which he paid away another. Tom 
was naturally extremely fastidious, the sheets 
were not remarkably clean, or wide, the patch- 
work quilt and musty feather bed, suggested 
his own room at home, with its neat furniture 
and white counterpane, rather more forcibly 
than was agreeable, considering he had turned 
his back upon it for ever. He could not get 
the window up to air the room for a long time, 
and when once up, it obstinately refused to 
come down again ; and he felt chilled, and stiff 
with his journey, when he rose the next morn- 
ing. But what are hardships, when one has 



OUT OF DANGER. 195 

set out to seek one's fortune ! Tom made his 
toilette in a tin wash-basin, with brown soap, 
and a great deal of becoming fortitude, "but 
he did think the fried salt pork would have 
tasted better if he had not seen it cooked by 
such a slatternly-looking woman, who, he was 
sure, had not combed her hair that morning, 
or made any ablutions at all ! 

Josephine, made sick at heart by this new 
calamity, for she had been obliged to undergo 
the mortification of a close examination from 
Professor Phelps, before Miss Anthon, was 
almost frantic with anxiety to know what had 
befallen her favorite brother. She pictured 
him to herself, in the very extreme of want 
and starvation, wandering alone over a dreary 
road, in the dread darkness of the night, tor- 
turing himself with remorseful fancies, and 
tempted to some terrible rashness, beyond 
even her imagination. 

He had not gone home, that his note dis- 
tinctly stated ; adding, in the language com- 
mon to juvenile defaulters, that " pursuit would 
be of no avail/' He might have made himself 
easy on that score. Professor Phelps had no 
idea of sending after him. Tom had been in 
disgrace too often, to make this last step very 



196 OUT OF DEBT, 

astonishing in the Principal's eyes, and would 
have been very much disappointed if he had 
been there to have witnessed the effect of his 
high-flown communication. 

Professor Phelps did what he considered his 
duty ; made a rigorous examination of Tom's 
chief comrades, of his sister, and his affairs, 
and forwarded the result to Mr. Bleeker, en- 
closing all bills and obligations, and declining 
to receive his son again, when he was found. 

In other words, Tom ivas expelled^ dis- 
gracefully and unconditionally; and, as is usual, 
the innocent, and not the guilty, bore the shame 
and odium of his conduct. Josephine, like her 
mother, keenly sensitive to honor and honesty, 
felt that it would be impossible ever to see any 
one again, and was sure that no one at the 
Academy, in the Seminary, or even in New York, 
thought of any thing, or talked of any thing 
else. She had not been out of her room since 
she returned to it from the parlor, after seeing 
Professor Phelps ; and neither Marianne's 
advice, or Clementina's persuasions, could in-* 
duce her to leave her bed for more than a week. 

A serious feverish attack was the natural 
result of all this worry and fretting, and it was 
pleasant to see how the real kindness of every 



OUT OF DANGER. 19*7 

young girl's heart was called out, by the actual 
illness of one of their number. Angelique 
produced a box of Guava jelly, the very last 
remains of a consignment of sweetmeats from 
her aunt in Havana ; Ada Thomas offered to 
lend her an elegantly bound copy of " Arabian 
Nights/' and even to read it aloud to her, though 
every one knew how Ada hated trouble. The 
Gourlays stopped making spiteful remarks, and 
as for Agnes and Clementina, they could not 
have done too much for the invalid. 

Miss Anthon, thinking it best to accept 
none of these kind offers, gave Josephine in 
charge to the two in whom she placed most 
confidence, Miss Fanshaw, and Miss Brown ; 
the last to Josephine's great annoyance. " Ann 
Brown, of all people ! " she said, fretfully, to 
Marianne. " She will be thinking herself as 
good as I am, now that papa has failed." 

" She always has been/' returned Marianne, 
determined not to indulge this ungracious humor, 
though Josephine was really suffering ; but 
Josephine evaded the contact. 

" Oh, my head and my limbs ache so, 
and rny feet are burning ! please bathe my 
forehead, dear Marianne ; was there ever any 



198 OUT OF DEBT, 

one had so much trouble, or was miserable as I 
am !" 

" There are people all around you, a great 
deal worse off," said Miss Fanshaw, quietly, 
dipping a napkin in ice-water. " I know it is 
very, very hard, just now ; but you may be sure 
Tom is safe; a boy of fourteen is quite old 
enough to take care of himself, and he will be 
glad enough to come back again some day, when 
he can appreciate home better. 

" That's the very worst part of it " and 
the complaining tone showed that Josephine 
was determined to be miserable. " We haven't 
any home to go to." 

" Oh yes, you have, dear, and a very pleasant 
one, I should judge from that letter I read for 
you yesterday. It must be looking beautifully 
now, with the grain springing up so thick and 
green in the fields, and the orchards in full 
bloom. I hope I shall see it for myself some 
day." 

" I did want a visit from you, very much," 
said Josephine, drearily, " but now, such a horrid 
place, you haven't the least idea, and every 
thing sold. But papa will be sure to get sick 
of it, that's one comfort." 

" I hope not, I'm sure." 



OUT OF DANUEK. 199 

"Why?" said the invalid, sharply. "I 
don't think it's very kind of you, when you know 
how I hate it." 

" Hush, Josephine," said Marianne. " You 
will bring back the fever again ; I do not know as 
I ought to let you talk at all ; but I do not 
like to hear a little girl set up her own likes and 
dislikes against the judgments and the wishes 
of her father and mother. You do not think it 
shows a very obedient spirit, yourself, do you, 
now ? If we all followed our own inclinations, 
and had and did exactly what we wanted, why, 
only think, what a nice time every one would 
have it ! what a world of misrule it would 
be!" 

" But mother said I might go to Clemen- 
tine's, if I wanted to," said Josephine, thinking 
Marianne very prosy, and that she did not love 
her half as well as she used to. 

u I wish you would let me see just what she 
says ; have you any objections ? ' asked Mari- 
anne, after a little pause. Josephine had told 
her this before, and the consent did not seem 
like what she had always heard of Mrs. Bleeker. 
Miss Fanshaw did not think she was acting with 
her usual good judgment. 

But Mrs. Bleeker, when seated at her desk, 



200 OUT OF DEBT, 

to decline the polite invitation of Mrs. Jones, 
had altered her decision. She was grieved that 
Josephine could wish to be away from her when 
there was so much to be done, and when she 
might make herself so useful. She saw with a 
mother's keen insight, with a disposition that 
had been a life-long study, that Josephine 
shrank from their altered circumstances, from 
trouble, and work, and self-denial in any shape, 
and wished to put off the evil day as far as 
possible. 

With such feelings, she could never be happy 
in their new home, and looking forward to the 
probable result, Mrs. Bleeker hazarded the 
trial. She did not visit Mrs. Jones ; she knew 
her to be wealthy and worldly, but there was 
nothing positively objectionable in the acquaint- 
ance. So she had written that Josephine must 
decide for herself, and at the same time, plainly 
told her that she could not expect a new spring 
outfit, situated as they were, or any allowance. 

" In the country you could do with what you 
have/' wrote Mrs. Bleeker. "Oily will be 
obliged to ; and whercever you are, you must 
do the same. Oily is a dear girl, and of the 
greatest assistance and comfort to me now. I 
should scarcely know what to do without her." 



OUT OF DANGER. 201 

It was Josephine's true place, as the eldest 
daughter, that Olive had taken, and she could 
not help feeling it, when Marianne read this last 
paragraph aloud, with a peculiar emphasis, 
which showed she thought so too. But Jose- 
phine would not listen to the inner or the out- 
ward monitor. She would like well enough to 
be praised as her mother's comforter, but then, 
dragging with the children, and spoiling her 
small soft hands with housework ; no, no, she 
hated the country more than ever ; and Cle- 
mentina was a dear sweet girl, and Mrs. Jones 
the most amiable of women to ask her ! She 
thought Marianne was very stiff and disagree- 
able lately, preaching " duty " and " the right ' 
all the time, when she was sick, and in so much 
trouble ; and she did not know, after all, but 
she would rather have Ann sit there, who never 
pretended to lecture her, and minded her books, 
and her own affairs. 



202 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTEK XV. 

CASTLES IN THE AIR 
" Turn again, "Whittington ! Lord Mayor of London ! " 

WHEN boys run away from home, in story 
books, they usually intend going to sea. For a 
wonder, this was not Tom's idea. He was 
something like Josephine in his dislike of hard 
work ; and besides, to go to sea he would have to 
get to New York in the first place, and so be 
likely to be discovered by his father, who was 
the last person he was anxious to encounter. 

There was another important consideration. 
Tom wanted to be rich, as well as the master of 
his own actions, and boys who went to sea never 
came home rich. They returned very much 
grown, and browned, and brought quantities of 
parrots, and shells, and sandal-wood fans ; but 
he could not recollect that they had a great deal 
of ready money about them. " Cats r ' were no 
longer a good investment for the South Sea 



OUT OF DANGER. 203 

Islands, as they were in Whittington's day, and 
he had lost the firm faith he once had in the 
pearl and diamond valleys of Sinbad. 

He had nothing to do but make plans as he 
walked along. Meanwhile, it was very trying to 
one who was an Astor already in imagination, 
to have to eat bread without even a herring ; he 
was reduced to this extremity on the afternoon 
of the third day, and to sleep in a barn, as he 
should probably have to do, for the sum of his 
earthly possessions was exactly two cents, which 
jingled drearily in his pocket, as if they wanted 
company. It was a small basis for the magni- 
ficent fortune that still occupied his thoughts. 

" I don't care ! ' said Tom, doggedly, " I 
won't go back, that's certain, and any clever 
fellow'' (" like me," of course, he meant) " can 
make his own way, when he once gets started. 
Why, New- Year's day didn't I go with father 
to that great, monstrous house in Lexington 
Avenue, with a marble pavement in the hall, 
and stained glass, and pictures and mirrors, no 
end to them ; and the lady, Mrs. Colton, with 
diamonds on, and the table all covered with silver, 
and didn't father tell me, when we came out, 
that Mr. Colton had just two and threepence in 



204 OUT OF DEBT, 

his pocket, when he came into New York a 
poor boy ! ' 

But Tom, dwelling on results, forgot that 
Mr. Colton had been trained in the harsh 
school of poverty and toil, that he was willing 
to commence life in the humblest capacity, and 
sweep out the floors, and sleep under the counter 
of the warehouse he afterwards owned, laying 
aside two cents out of every three he earned, 
and so building up his future on the firm foun- 
dation of industry, and economy, and self- 
denial. 

" Why, John Jacob Astor himself, was a 
poor boy, and so was Abbot Lawrence, and 
Daniel Webster/' and visions of political dis- 
tinction now mingled with Tom's more mercenary 
schemes. " What would they say, if I should 
get to be a Member of Congress, and no thanks 
to any of them ! but then mother should know 
where I was, all the time, because she would 
worry, only I'd make her promise not to tell 
father. Then, when I was on my way to Wash- 
ington, I'd stop and pay them a visit, and for- 
give father !" (magnanimous Tom !) "and give 
Joe and Peter every thing they want ! Yes, 
the West is the place for me ! Buffalo isn't 
quite far enough, they might hear of me there ; 



OUT OF DANGER. 205 

I'll go to Chicago; Mr. Lane, who dined with 
papa last vacation, had a great deal to say about 
it. I wonder if he wouldn't give a fellow a start, 
now ! Of course, I would not let him know 
who I was, but he could see that I belonged to a 
good family, and ask no questions ! ' 

But in the mean time, the possessor of all 
these brilliant air castles would have liked to 
know where he was going to sleep that night, 
and what he was going to have for his supper. 

Out of his thousand and one vague plans, 
Tom had finally settled on Mr. Lane, the great 
Western land speculator, as his future patron, 
and though he longed to begin the world at 
once, he must trust to the slow medium of a 
canal packet from Albany, in the first instance, 
working his passage at that ! 

" What am I going to do to-night, though, 
that's the first thing ? ' He was obliged to come 
down to the necessities of the moment, and to 
consider that he was on a road he knew nothing 
about, already stiff and tired out with his un- 
usually protracted walk, and the want of the 
nourishing food he had been accustomed to. 
He did not like the necessity of asking shelter 
for the night. He had had several adventures 
alreadv, that were more romantic than agree- 

/ * c* 



206 OUT OF DEBT, 

able ; such as being warned off for a tramp and 
a straggler, where he had stopped to inquire 
the way ; or being advised to go to work, and 
' not be idling round, a great lazy fellow like 
him," when he had asked for a drink of butter- 
milk at a farm-house, where the woman was 
setting her churn and tin pans out in the sun. 
It was not heroic, strictly speaking, to run from 
a great brute of a house-dog, set fiercely upon 
him, but he had done that, and now, as he 
tried to persuade himself that there was no bed 
like a good bundle of fresh hay, he was obliged 
to confess that he was mortally afraid of rats, 
in the dark, and barns were generally full of 
them ! 

So far he had had fine weather, unusually 
warm for the season, and there was a real plea- 
sure in watching the farmers at work in the 
fields, and the cattle browsing close to the fences, 
or on the sunny slopes of the hills ; he drank in 
the sweet-scented spring air at every breath, 
and saw the foliage begin to flush the woods, 
and the white blossoms of the dog-rose unfold 
in some shadowy vista, the fruit trees and the 
orchards one beautiful sheet of tinted blossoms ; 
the lilacs and the snow-balls budding in the 
little door-yards of farm-houses, or village streets. 



OUT OF DANGER. 207 

The weather, capricious as April always is, had 
rapidly changed towards evening. The clouds 
gathered chilly and cold overhead, the spring 
breeze now swept across the empty fields a bitter 
blast ; and a mist -like rain filled the air, pene- 
trating every garment, and promising a long- 
settled storm. 

Tom was on a lonely road, with only a few 
farm-houses, of the humblest description, scat- 
tered at long intervals. The twilight began to 
grow into settled darkness, and so did Tom's 
prospects. It was in vain that he buttoned up 
his jacket to the throat, turned up his coat col- 
lar, and drew his cap down over his eyes. The 
storm was pitiless and penetrating, and though 
he battled along bravely for a while, there was 
not even a barn in sight, as, at last, completely 
conquered by cold, hunger, and fatigue, he sat 
down on a great stone by the roadside, and 
wished himself back again at Rockville, or in 
New York, or any where but where he was, and 
what he was, homeless and shelterless, without 
friends, or money, or food. What remained to 
him at that moment of all his courage and 
boasting, and cherished' independence, but the 
supper of husks of the prodigal son ! 

How the work of months was done in that 




'208 OUT OF DEBT, 

miserable half hour, as with head bowed down 
on his knees he thought bitterly over his follies, 
and forced himself to see the uncertainty and 
falseness of his present position. Yet he could 
not go back, he had himself shut the door of 
home as it were, and by the cheerful light of 
pictures that he drew, what he might have been 
to them all, a dutiful, respectful son, a loving 
brother, an educated, honorable mai>, he ,saw 
himself in the future, a wanderer, and an out- 
cast ! 

He raised his head at last, but there was 
nothing to cheer him in the mist and darkness 
his eyes tried in vain to penetrate. An indis- 
tinct glimmering of the white road, and the gray 
stone wall opposite ; a mass of dark outlines of 
the thick wood beyond ; no light, not even the 
" little candle " of a farmer's kitchen to guide 
him, and the rain changing into a steady, perse- 
vering shower. 

He caught another sound than the sighing 
of the trees, and the rushing of the rain pre- 
sently, and his heart gave a great bound, as he 
made out the monotonous tramp of horses, toil- 
ing slowly along up the hill he had just left be- 
hind and now down again faster, and cheered 
on by a man's voice and the crack of a whip, as 



OUT OF DANGER. 209 

they came nearer. He stood up and drew in his 
breath, as a shipwrecked man might have done at 
t he cry of " a sail," and the man seeing the dark 
object by the road-side, called " hullo ! ' in a 
rough but not unkindly voice. 

He did not seem to care much for the rain ; 
why should he, in his thick homespun suit, and 
slouched hat that " shed it just like an amber- 
ill ?" as he afterwards told Tom. Obediah Wise 
had never been in a hurry since he was born, and 
did not think it was worth while to begin now 
just for "a sprinkle." His horses were like 
their driver, neither spare nor stout, but in very 
good condition for all that, in their rusty old- 
fashioned harness. 

Tom could not see this in the dark, but he 
made out that it was a box wagon by its length, 
and he would be thankful enough to have a seat 
on the load of boards, that clattered every step 
the horses took. " Hullo ! whoa, old boy ! ' 
shouted Obediah again, coming to a full stop. 

" Rather bad night, young man, and hard 
walking aint it now ? Wamto ride ? ' : 

Never was invitation more gladly accepted. 
Tom climbed up over the muddy wheel, neither 
knowing nor caring for the effect the contact 
had on his already defaced clothes, handing the 



210 O U T O F D E B T , 

bundle to Obediah, who deliberately drew it 
in. 

" 'Taint a very heavy load/' he said, critically, 
" not much heft, nuther is mine. Maby you'd 
better set back on them boards there, and draw 
that are old coverlid up, you haint got no great 
coat I see, and it's considerable of a sprinkle/' 

Tom, who did not know the exact position of 
the " old coverlid" which "was tuck along to 
kiver up old Bill, who had a stiff knee when he 
stood," was assisted by Obediah, who turned 
around and leaned back, tucking him in as a 
mother would her baby. 

" Git up there," he drawled out to his 
horses, when satisfied that all was right, and 
once more Tom was on the road ignorant of his 
destination, or his guide, and only thankful for 
some human companionship whatever it was, 
and the partial shelter. 

" Goin' fur ? " said Mr. Wise, presently, sit- 
ting sideways in the sociable manner common to 
country teamsters who know their road and like 
their company. 

" To Albany," said Tom, at a venture, and 
thinking: the man must be kind-hearted from the 

O 

tone of his voice. 

" Want to know ! " and a dead silence fol- 



OUT OF DANGER. 211 

lowed, while Obediah desiring to entertain his 
passenger, fished in the void of his imagination 
for bait wherewith to gain further information. 

"My name's Wise, Obediah Wise, Obed 
commonly for common," he said, after waiting in 
vain to hear any thing from his silent companion. 
" 'Taint so long, and our folks allus did call me 
so. What's yourn ? ' asked he abruptly, dis- 
concerting his new acquaintance much more 
than he had any idea of by the question. 

But Tom parried it by another. 

" Are you going home ? ' and there was a 
faltering in spite of himself on the last word, as 
he wished in his heart that he was. 

"I be! ' said Obed, complacently. 

" Is it far ? ' asked Tom, making up his 
mind rapidly, that now was a chance for a 
night's lodging as well as a ride. He should not 
mind so much asking it of this good natured 
man. 

" Well, 'taint so far as it might be ! ' and 
the tone of the voice more than the words as- 
sured Tom that it was not a great many miles 
away. "I live out, you see," he added, and 
Tom's heart went down again ; perhaps his new 
acquaintance had not the power, if the will, to 
shelter him. 



212 OUT OF DEBT, 

'"Taint so much livin' out, nuther," con- 
tinued Obed ; " I'm pretty much to hum, after 
all's said and done/' 

" Is it a farm ? ' asked Tom, dreading, 
more than he ever had thought he could dread 
any thing, to come to the point. 

" Guess you'd think so ! Git up, now, Bill, 
rnaby you'll git some oats when you git 
there," and Obed's own mouth tasted prospec- 
tively the cold corned beef and mug of cider 
that he kn^w awaited him. 

The horses stepped on more briskly, trotting 
it could not be called, though Tom's seat was 
far from luxurious, in the absence of springs ; but 
that was the least of the once fastidious young 
gentleman's troubles. 

" The Squire and me gits in pritty good 
crops, I tell you now," Obed broke silence with, 
presently. 

" Is he rich ? ' inquired Tom, whose part 
seemed to be only laconic catechism. The truth 
was, he was too wet, and hungry, and down- 
hearted to be very communicative. 

" Well, he ain't so rich as Greasus warn't 
that his name ? I guess you know books 5 
by the way you talk, sorter softly nor he 
aint so poor as Poverty's back door, nuther ! ' 



OUT OF DANGEK. 213 

with which indefinite information, Tom was fain 
to content himself, and trust to the chance of 
the Squire's hospitality. 

" I'll tell you what he is, though/' broke out 
Obed, warmly, "he's the furtherest seem', and 
the best dispositioned, and the right-down- 
cleverest man you ever did see." 

Contented, if such a word could be named 
in his forlorn and miserable plight, to know that 
he probably would not be sent out into the 
storm again, Tom stretched himself out on the 
lumber, and made a pillow of his bundle. 

Gradually the self-reproach, and anxiety, 
and homesick longing, faded into indistinct and 
broken recollection, and in spite of the uneasy 
motion, the pouring rain, and Obed's monoto- 
nous discourse to Bill, and his yoke-fellow, he 
fell asleep. 

He was more exhausted than he knew of, by 
this three day's travel, and hard fare, so that 
his sleep was almost like lethargy. He did not 
rouse up, when Obed stopped the horses, and 
got out to unbar the great gate of a lane lead- 
ing into the Squire's barn-yard ; or when he 
drew up again in the full light of the kitchen 
window, to report himself, and request the girl 
f 'to hurry up thern corn-beef, for he was as 



214 OUT OF DEBT, 

hungry as a bear ;" nor when the Squire himself, 
lantern in hand, came out on the great stone 
step. 

As the light fell upon the boy's face, the 
hair wet, and clinging in masses to his white 
cheeks, blanched by fatigue and weariness, he 
was dreaming of his own home, with its bright- 
ness and warmth, of his mother's tender loving 
care, and that his father had welcomed the pro- 
digal home. 

A strange, confused murmur of voices roused 
him at last, and rising on his elbow with diffi- 
culty, stiff and bewildered, he found himself at 
the door of Uncle Peter's homestead, and face 
to face with his own father ! 






OUT OF DANGER. 215 



CHAPTER XVI. 

A HARD LESSON. 

" Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor's house, lost he be weary of 
thee, and so hate thee." PBOVERBS. 

To use a homely phrase, Josephine " knew bet- 
ter'' than to accept Mrs. Jones's invitation, 
which was made for an indefinite length of 
time. 

" For ever," Clementina said and why not, 
for she was an only daughter, and had things 
pretty much her own way. When the end of 
the term came, and Josephine, who had fretted 
too much to learn any thing the last five or six 
weeks, departed under the escort of Mr. Jones, 
her leave-taking was very unsatisfactory. Miss 
Anthon, who was not indulgent naturally, was 
displeased with her for not exerting herself still 
more than ever to improve advantages she might 
never have again. The girls did not make 
"half as much fuss over her as thev used to, 1 

1 S 



216 OUT OF DEBT, 



and, she was sure, " talked about her, behind her 
back." Miss Fanshaw's manner certainly was 
cold, but Josephine did her injustice when she 
attributed it to the affair of the ring, and that 
she was going away without replacing it. Mari- 
anne had entirely forgotten it, a very trifling 
loss to her ; but she was disappointed in her 
little friend, and thought her decision show.ed 
little love for her mother, and brothers and sis- 
ters. To Marianne, this home love, which Jose- 
phine so cast away, would have been the dearest 
thing on earth ; but as many have found in 
sorrow later in life, it is one of those daily bless- 
ings little appreciated until it is denied to us. 

Josephine had deliberately taken the wrong 
path, and she herself was to blame, that she 
found more thorns than roses. 



At first it was all very pleasant ; Mrs. Jones 
patted and humored both the children, took 
them every where with her, and was particu- 
larly fond of introducing " Miss Bleeker, my 
daughter's friend," to her visitors. They were 
not to know it was the " Bleeker ' who had 
failed in the spring ; there were many Bleekers 
in New York, and none of the Jones's circle 
visited them. They were generally fashionable 
people, who looked down on the Jones's con- 



OUT OF DANGER. 217 

nection, as they in turn considered themselves 
better than the Smiths. 

They lived in a large, modern house, much 
handsomer, and more showily furnished than 
Mr. Bleeker's had been ; with a full regiment 
of servants, so that Clementina " need not turn 
her hand over, if she did not choose," as her 
mother often said before her. Of course, Cle- 
mentina did not choose, and this easy life suited 
Josephine remarkably well, also. 

There was an absence of refinement both in 
the family and their manner of living, to which 
Josephine had always been accustomed at home, 
with all Mrs. Bleeker's plain and economical 
ways. Mr. Jones laughed loud and long at his 
own jokes, and Mrs. Jones did not always use 
good grammar. Neither was Clementina as 
respectful to her parents as Josephine had been 
taught was right and lady-like. But she tried 
not to see these things, for if there was less 
refinement, there was less restraint ; she had no 
one to tell her even to practise, if she did not 
care to. The regular habits which she had been 
accustomed to at home and at school, were sadly 
broken in upon. The little girls rose when they 
liked, and had a hot breakfast when it suited 
them to come down. 
10 



218 OUT OF DEBT, 

Her reading and her prayers were first put 
off, then missed, then omitted altogether. 
There was not a Bible in the house, except the 
large, elegantly bound quarto in the parlor, and 
the one Clementina had used at school ; no 
family prayers no mention of our daily de- 
pendence on the Father from whom came all 
the good and abundant gifts which they enjoyed 
through the week ; and on Sunday, Mrs. Jones 
went to morning service, only, dressed in the 
extreme of fashion, and came home to comment 
on the bonnets and mantillas of the congrega- 
tion, instead of the sermon. Perhaps she never 
heard it, for many people have a remarkable 
talent for shutting their ears in church, while 
their eyes and thoughts are very busy. 

Josephine's first real trouble was about her 
wardrobe. Every body knows how shabby ^id 
old-fashioned " last summer's dresses ' alwavs : 

K 

look, when brought into comparison with the 
bright colors, and recent shapes of winter or 
spring. 

Mrs. Bleeker had sent a trunk containing 
Josephine's to Mrs. Jones, before she went into 
the country, and the young girl, recollecting 
how becoming her pink lawn had been, and 
how prettily her striped barege was made, had 



OUT OF DANGER. 219 

no misgivings on the score of appearances, until 
the first hot clays of June made a lighter 
toilette than the gray cashmere, and bright 
palm-leaf shawl , admirable. Mrs. Bleeker had 
taken her last year's straw bonnet for Olive, and 
sent Josephine a new one, plain, but sufficiently 
good to be presentable; the shape and. blue 
ribbons were becoming, though the straw was 
coarse. 

The little girls were by themselves, in Cle- 
mentina's large, luxurious chamber, dressing to 
go out with Mrs. Jones. 

" What are you going to wear ? ' asked 
Clem, laying out a new tissue, with a very 
approving glance, upon the handsome French 
bed. 

"My cashmere, I guess," said Josephine, 
admiring the broad, smooth braid that grew 
under her quick fingers. She stood before a 
glass that gave back her figure at full length. 

" That everlasting cashmere ! oh, don't do 
put on a summer dress." 

" Well, if you think it's warm enough ; 
mamma was always very particular about our 
not changing too early ; I suppose my lawn will 
want to be done up, but I can put on my 
barege." 



220 OUT OF DEBT, 

Josephine hunted up the key, from a very dis- 
orderly drawer, and opened the trunk. There 
were linen under-clothes first, for Mrs. Bleeker 
was always more particular about under than 
outer garments, which Mrs. Jones was not. 
Then came the dresses. 

The pink lawn had a wonderfully faded look, 
beside Clementina's bright painted tissue, with 
its gauze ribbon trimming ; the black silk man- 
tle, trimmed with folds, which she thought the 
height of elegance last summer, was very old- 
fashioned, now that every body wore fringe, or 
ruffles ; and the bar&ge dress was short- waisted, 
as indeed all the dresses were, and came almost 
up to her knees. Josephine could have cried 
with vexation, as she unfolded and shook out 
one article of dress after the other. Mrs. Jones 
thought so much of appearances, and these 
things, though they might be made comfortable 
by altering, and were good enough for a child 
of her age, would never be presentable by the 
side of the gay toilettes of mother and daughter. 

Then she looked so like a fright, and Jose- 
phine's vanity was even stronger than her foolish 
pride. In vain she pulled down the waist, and 
twitched at the sleeves of the refractory barege. 
It would not meet on the shoulders, or at the 



OUT OF DANGER. 221 

waist. It was too high in the neck, too short in 
the skirt, but that at least she could remedy, for 
it was tucked almost to the waist. 

Josephine snatched up the scissors and ripped 
out a tuck. Alas ! the barege had faded, and 
with all the pressing in the world it would 
always show. Mrs. Jones found her crying 
when she came back with Clementina, who had 
gone to her mother's room, just as the research 
commenced. She was kind-hearted in the main, 
and it worried her to see any one in trouble, so 
she told Josephine that the seamstress should 
alter her dresses, and that the lawn could have 
a belt set in, which would never show with a 
sash, showing such a readiness at alteration, 
that Josephine , innocently wondered if Mrs. 
Jones had had a new outfit every spring, all her 
ife, herself; but she could not help a shabby, 
mortified feeling, as she caught sight of herself 
in the little mirror of the ferry-boat, sitting 
between Mrs. Jones and her daughter. 

\S 

" Never mind/' said Clementina, good- 
naturedly, as she saw the glance and its effect ; 
>e you do not look so very warm, and that bonnet 
is sweet, pretty, and will do very nicely until you 
have a dress hat next month." 

" But I'm not going to have a dress bonnet/' 



life, 
moi 



222 OUT OF DEBT, 

said Josephine, sullenly, feeling that moment 
cross with herself and all the world. 

" Not going to have a dress hat ! ; said 
Clementina, opening her blue eyes wider than 
ever. " Ma, Josephine says she's not going to 
have one, after all. Why, we were going to 
Malherbe's to look for one this afternoon." 

" Oh yes, she will/' said Mrs. Jones, in a 
matter-of-course way. " Likely enough her ma 
has forgot about it." 

" Likely enough ! j repeated Josephine, 
sneeringly, to herself. " My ma speaks good 
English, any way, if she don't wear French 
bonnets ! ' 

Such an impertinent, ill-bred thought of a 
person so much older than herself, and whose 
hospitality she enjoyed, would not have entered 
Josephine's mind six months before, or, at any 
rate, been allowed to stay there. So true is the 
copy she had often written, that evil communi- 
cations corrupt good manners, without knowing, 
it is true, that the warning came from Mari- 
anne's book of rules. 

The show-room was a perfect flutter of lace, 
and flowers, and ribbons ; Mademoiselle Alice 
only too attentive. Bonnets, so light and trans- 
parent that you scarcely felt their weight more 



OUT OF DANGER 223 

than a garland in your hand, were pressed upon 
their attention. Clementina fixed upon a straw- 
colored crape, with violets inside and out, 
although her mother and Mademoiselle both told 
her it was too old for her, and she insisted on 
Josephine's trying on a pale green crape, with a 
single spray of sweet briar, which was really 
very simple and becoming. 

Josephine had never seen herself look so 
well. The blonde cap, and tiny butterfly bows, 
suited her face, and the whole thing was so 
stylish and striking. 

" Aunt Lucy Mrs. Hamilton had one very 
much like it last season," she said to Clementina, 
for Josephine was very fond of quoting her 
fashionable relations, since she found it gave her 
so much consequence in the eyes of Mrs. Jones. 

The remark had a visible effect on Mademoi- 
selle, who had not before thought it advisable 
to waste much attention on the plainly-dressed 
child. 

" Ah ! Madame Hamilton ! She does live 
in Gramercy Park ! ' said Madame Malherbe, 
herself, turning around suddenly. " The very 
hat itself was sent from us you remember 
Madame Hamilton's green hat, Mademoiselle 
Alice ? She has white this season, with blonde 



224 OUT OF DEBT, 

and crape flowers. She is very stylish, Madame 
Hamilton, she is gone to Newport." 

Josephine knew this, for she had taken it 
upon herself to call in Gramercy Park, the first 
week of her stay in Brooklyn. It was very 
delightful to have Madame leave other customers, 
and overlook Clementina altogether, to wait on 
her. 

" Mademoiselle wishes a crape hat ; Made- 
moiselle has e^-cellent-taste," said the quick 
Frenchwoman. " It is very becoming ; shall I 
send it to Madame's address ? " 

" Oh, no ! ' said Josephine, startled ; for 
she had noticed the price, eight dollars, pinned 
on one of the strings ; but for that matter she 
could not have afforded two. A 

" You might as well, Josephine/' said Mrs. 
Jones, also flattered at Madame's attention, whe 
so many well-dressed ladies were in the roo 
She heard one of them say " Mrs. Hamilton's 
niece/' and direct the attention of her com- 
panion towards them. 

" You can have it charged with Clemen- 
tina's/' she whispered ; " never mind every 
body's looking at you." 

Josephine hesitated, and blushed before 
Madame's keen black eyes, as if she could read 




OUT OF DANGER. 225 

her poverty in this indecision. " Madame 
Hamilton's niece' could not say she had no 
money, though an unknown little girl in a coarse 
straw might have summoned courage for such a 
confession. 

" Yes, you may send it home ; ' said Mrs. 
Jones, aloud ; " she could not suit herself bet- 
ter/' and Josephine, forgetting how she had 
blamed Tom for this very thing, and disobeying 
her mother's positive injunctions, suffered it to 
be laid aside with her name attached, saying .to 
herself, "it was all Mrs. Jones she could not 
help it," though she knew in her heart that she 
might, had she the courage. 

The bonnet came home, and Josephine, 
stifling all uncomfortable reflections, wore it the 
next Sunday ; though she was obliged to own 
to herself, that it did not look very suitable with 
the somewhat defaced mantle and altered dress. 
Clementina's quick eyes saw it, too, and the 
next time they were shopping, she persuaded 
her mother to get a mantilla like her own, and 
a French muslin, which the seamstress made up, 
though Josephine remonstrated faintly, and felt 
very guilty every time she wore this elegant 
outfit. 

Mrs. Bleeker had not thought it necessary 
10* 



226 OUT OF DEBT, 

to write to Mrs. Jones of the charge she had so 
positively given Josephine, and Clementina said, 
" Oh, Mrs. Bleeker won't mind," and Mrs. Jones 
really thought so ; and that, so far from mind- 
ing, she ought to be very much obliged to her 
for taking the 'trouble of seeing to her daughter's 
outfit. She proposed several other additions to 
it, but now that she had one nice suit, her young 
visitor had the grace to decline them positively. 
Josephine had not been at peace with her- 
self for a long time, and her once amiable dis- 
position changed into fretful irritability, as her 
secret disquiet increased. She could not always 
stifle thought, and she was not so blind, that 
she did not see that her position with the family 
gradually altered. Mr. Jones was more nearly 
the same than any one, but he had never been 
much of a favorite with her. Mrs. Jones, who 
was not above the vulgar fashion of " hinting/' 
inquired " what her ma said," every time she had 
a letter from home, evidently thinking it strange 
no remittances arrived, and that nothing was 
ever mentioned of Josephine's return home. 
Clementina, notwithstanding their eternal friend- 
ship, had formed a desperate intimacy with two 
very showy sisters, older than herself, who always 
took occasion to make themselves very disagree- 



OUT OF DANGER. 227 

* 

able to Josephine. She had never before been 
accustomed to such rich, high-seasoned, and 
often unsuitable dishes, as were constantly served 
at the table, and to which the girls were helped 
without question. All these things had brought 
back her nervous headaches more violently and 
frequently than ever, and home-sickness, in its 
full meaning, always came with the attack. 

" Pa talks of going to Niagara/' said Clem- 
entina to her one morning, when she had been 
forced to lie down immediately after breakfast. 

" Does he ? ' she answered, absently, only 
wishing Clementina would get through opening 
drawers, and banging closet doors to, as she pro- 
posed to go out. She often went without Jose- 
phine nowadays, and left her alone for hours to- 
gether, without even inviting her to join them 
sometimes, if the Miss Slopers were to be her 
companions. 

The intended journey, or that she could be 
in any way affected by it, passed out of her mind 
again, as Clementina left the room. She forced 
herself to get up and close the inner shutters, 
for she did not like to ask the servants to do any 
thing for her lately, they were so impertinent. 
It made the room quite dark, but warm and 
close, so she got up again and opened the door 



228 OUT OF DEBT, 

into a little dressing-room where the seamstress 
usually sat. 

She was almost too miserable to think, as 
she lay down again, covering her eyes with her 
hands, and pressing her throbbing temples into 
the pillow ; but she could not get asleep, try as 
she would, and a great longing to see the dear 
home faces, no matter how plain the home might 
be, or how hard her share of its duties might 
prove, filled her mind. But then those dreadful 
debts, she must confess those, if she wrote to be 
sent for, and ask for the money to pay them 
with, and she had so little moral courage remain- 
ing ; it would be easy to confess her error, and 
return to her duty, but for them, far easier 
than to lead this hollow, self-tormenting life. 

She heard the seamstress come into the sew- 
ing room while she was thinking this, and pre- 
sently the chambermaid joined her, and sat down 
for a regular gossip. At first she only wished 
they would not talk so loud, or would go some- 
where else, and then she heard Jane, the 
chambermaid, say, 

"I wouldn't stay where I warn't wanted, 
poor as I be/' 

" Nor I," answered the seamstress. " You're 
sure she isn't in there, Jane ? " 



OUT OF DANGER. 229 

" La, no/' said the girl, " she and Clemen- 
tina's off flourishin' somewhere ; I heard 'em go 
right after breakfast. They're all tired of her, 
any body could see that with half an eye ; 
though how Miss Jones came to take up with 
her, and ask her here in the first place, / can't 
see ; after her fathered failed, and all." 

" I suppose they thought her ma'd clothe 
her, any way, and not let it all come on Miss 
Jones. I didn't engage to sew for any body, 
when I came here ; I can tell Miss Jones that, 
if she tries it again." 

" Haint she ever given you any thing ? " 
inquired Jane. 

" Not the first thing ; and I altered every 
one of them frocks, and made that muslin." 

" I should think she'd feel real mean, wearing 
that every time she went out, and our Clemen- 
tina dressing so handsome. But la, Ann, some 
folks is so callus ! She never handed over the 
first thing to me, neither, I never lived no- 
where before, that the visitors didn't make 
handsome presents, did you? What'll she do 
when they're gone to Niagara, I wonder ; Miss 
Jones means to ask her to-night if her ma's 
goin' to let her go along. She aint a-goin' to 
stay here to be waited on, I'll be bound. Miss 



230 OUT OF DEBT, 

Jones don't know what to make of their not 
sendin' no money ; I heard her tell Clementina 

* / 

so, last night." 

" What did she say ! " 

" Oh, la ! she's right up an' down, Clemen- 
tina is ; she said right out, how poor they was 
now, and Miss Jones said, then her ma orter 
know better than to let her come. Gracious ! 
how the wind banged that door to ! ' 

But it was not the wind ; Josephine had 
heard all, and a great deal more than she wished 
to. At first she could not realize that she was 
the object of such insulting comment ; but the 
truth, cutting as it was to come through such a 
channel, had gone home, and her real position, 
when even the servants could talk over her pov- 
erty, and blame her mother, forced itself upon 
her. 

She wrote to her mother a humble, tear- 
blistered confession, before the sting of the insult 
ceased to goad her, and stealing out of the 
house, carried it herself to the post-office. Oh, 
how long the week seemed before an answer 
could possibly come ; and when it did arrive, 
her hands trembled so that a bank bill it en- 
closed fell on the floor as she opened it. She 
was alone, fortunately, and she did not stoop to 



OUT OF DANGER. 231 

pick it up. in her eagerness to know her sentence 
at once. 

" My own dear child/' wrote Mrs. Bleeker, 
" I will not add to your trouble by any re- 
proaches, for I see you have already suffered a 
hard punishment. Such dependence is more 
bitter than any spoken reproof, and your own 
self-reproach, particularly when you come to 
understand our position at home, how plainly we 
live, how frugal we are forced to be, until your 
father's affairs are entirely settled, is punish- 
ment enough. He hopes yet to pay off every 
dollar, and we all work together towards it ; but 
the amount of your various bills comes to very 
nearly the sum that I have saved from the 
clothes of Olive and the children. I have not 
had so much as a new bonnet this year. 

" I am sorry I cannot send it to you now. 
Your father will have nothing of his own before 
the crops are disposed of ; and, kind as Uncle 
Peter is, I should not like to ask a loan from 
him. You know it is against my principles. 
Your journey will cost all that I can spare at 
present, for, of course, you will come to us im- 
mediately, and we will make you very welcome 
in our new home. Assure Mrs. Jones that the 
amount will be remitted to her at the earliest 



232 o u T o F 



E B T 



possibility. This is the last mortification, I hope, 
which you will have to undergo, in connection 
with this unfortunate visit. 

" I am sorry I did not know about the ring 
before. Tom owned to his father that he had 
borrowed all your allowance, and now sends you 
five dollars that he has earned himself this sum- 
mer,--! will leave him to tell you how. But as 
you will probably need it all just now, I send 
you one of my own rings for Miss Fanshaw, by 
Mr. Lane, who will bring you home. He is one 
of our country neighbors, plain, but obliging, 
and will probably be in town the day after you 
receive this. Do not forget to thank Miss Fan- 
shaw for all her kind care and advice to my 
wayward daughter. 

' Dear child ! I could have told you how all 
this would end from the beginning, but you 
would not have believed me, or been contented 
and satisfied if I had acted upon my own judg- 
ment, and declined the visit for you. But do 
not think it was unkind, this is sometimes Our 
Father's way ' He suffers us to fall into temp- 
tation' that the experience bought so dearly, 
may make us wise in due time." 

Clementina's ardor revived a little, when she 



OUT OF DANGER 233 

found Josephine was really going, but on the 
whole, she felt it a relief as well as Mrs. Jones ; 
and Josephine could but see that it was so. 
She did not propose a correspondence, though 
their friendship was to be so eternal, according 
to the purple morocco album. The Miss Slopers 
had it now, and she was to go to school with 
them in the autumn at Madame Chegary's, their 
mother having persuaded Mrs. Jones that Rock- 
ville was "entirely behind the age." 

Josephine had the satisfaction of making 
Ann and Jane each a handsome present the day 
before she left, much to the astonishment of 
these young women, who immediately began to 
grow complimentary, and make extraordinary 
offers of unnecessary assistance, which were at 
once declined. 

When her trunk was fairly in the hall, and 
Josephine stood at the parlor window, watching 
for Mr. Lane and his cab, she could not re- 
press a few tears of mortification, at the end 
of a visit which had promised so much pleasure. 
She drew her veil down over her face to hide 
them, and wished she could love Clementina as 
she had done at Rockville, or that she could 
think Mrs. Jones, who was urging her to " come 
again soon/' sincere. It was her first lesson in 






234 OUT OF DEBT, 

worldliness, and it robbed her of so much of 
childhood's faith, life's first treasure. 

But Marianne was unchanged, Marianne, 
who was stopping at a hotel in the city, on a 
long summer tour with her father. She was to 
go to see her on her way to the cars, and Mr. 
Lane very kindly put himself out of the way to 
accompany her there, though Clementina had 
known she wanted to go for a week, and had 
not offered to help her. 

Marianne flew down to the carriage, looking 
lovelier than ever, in a pretty plaid silk, and 
with not so much as a velvet bow in her abun- 
dant hair. She brought her father with her, 
who seemed so proud and fond, that it was a 
pleasure to see them together ; and said, the 
ring which Josephine offered, blushingly, was 
u lovely, only it was a shame to keep it, a beau- 
tiful emerald for her worthless little pearls." 

" I will, though, and wear it as a keepsake 
from you, darling, and I hope to see your 
mother, and thank her one of these days. I 
may pay Joe a visit, mayn't I, papa ? ' 

Mr. Fanshaw smiled, and said "when he 
could spare her/' and bowed and spoke very 
politely to Mr. Lane, who was a plain farmer, 
with no pretence at all, and a little awkward 



OUT OF DANGER. 235 

and embarrassed in manner. Clementina and 
her mother had ridiculed him, but Mr. Fanshaw 
was a gentleman in every sense of the word. 

Marianne, on the other side of the carriage, 
stood with her hand on the open door. " I wish 
I could see you longer, dear Joe, and make you 
understand how much I really loved you all the 
time, only it grieved me to see you neglecting 
every thing so, arid deciding against your own 
conscience, as I knew you did. Write to me 
very often, and long, honest letters, there's a 
dear child." 

" We must not make Mr. Lane too late for 
the cars," said Mr. Fanshaw, stepping back on 
the pavement. " I'm glad to have met you, 
Miss Josephine, and give my kindest regards to 
your father, he will remember me." 

So the carriage drove off, with another wave 
of the hand from Marianne, and Josephine's 
face, like her thoughts, was " set towards 
home.' 



236 OUT OF DEBT, 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE HOMESTEAD. 

" Owe no man any thing, but to love one another." ROMANS. 
"Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth 
darkness." ECCLESIASTES. 

THERE was the usual amount of bustle the 
next afternoon, at the Croton depot. It was 
not a very important station, but the lookers on, 
and idlers of the village, had collected to see the 
train come in. The baggage-master walked up 
and down the platform, with an important air, 
and a few passengers were waiting to take the 
up train. 

Apart from the rest of the vehicles in wait- 
ing, stood an old-fashioned, yellow wagon, with 
two seats ; and the horse, in harness by no 
means bright or new, had bent down to crop the 
dusty grass as well as he could, which his city 
brethren would have disdained to do. But 



OUT OF DANGER. 237 

there was no false pride in our old acquaintance, 
' Bill/' to keep him from gathering an honest 
mouthful as he could, and Oily, who now held 
the reins, was too busy in watching for the 
cars, to mind what the horse was about, so he 
did not run away with her. 

' Here it comes," shouted Tom, appearing 
on the platform : don't be afraid, Oily, he won't 
even prick up his ears. " Here they are," and 
the long rumbling train shot forward in a cloud 
of dust, then slackened its pace, and finally con- 
cluded to stand still, and let the passengers 
alight. 

" Oh, I'm afraid she has not come," said 
Oily, fairly trembling with eagerness, to Katie, 
clinging on the back seat, and at that moment 
only afraid of old Bill. 

Yes, there she is no, it is not yes, it is, 
Tom's found her. Oh, how she's grown, I won- 
der if she'll know us, Katie. Joe dear Joe ! 
and unmindful of Katie's terror at being thus 
suddenly promoted as charioteer, Olive climbed 
down from the yellow wagon, and hurried to 
squeeze Josephine's hand, and carry her travel- 
ling bag for her. 

In spite of her hard lessons, of her good 
sense, and all her good resolutions, Josephine in- 



238 O U T O F D F, B T , 

stinctively drew back, and felt a momentary chill, 
at Olive in her gingham sun-bonnet, and Katie 
clinging so helplessly to the back of the yellow 
wagon. She had tried to fancy the change, 
but she could not make it as great as it really 
was, until she saw Tom's hard, brown hands, 
and palm-leaf hat, the girls in their sun-bonnets, 
and chintz dresses, and above all, " that deplor- 
able wagon," as she mentally styled the vehicle 
that had taken Uncle Peter to " meeting," for 
many a year. 

But she made a great effort to overcome 
what she knew to be an unworthy feeling, and 
stooping down, kissed Olive's glowing eager face 
affectionately, before she despatched her to 
Katie's relief, and helped Torn identify her 
trunk in the promiscuous pile of baggage. 

" Oh, wait for the porter, don't try to lift it 
yourself," she called out, as Tom prepared to lift 
it into the front of the wagon. 

" Poh poh, stand around, you don't know 
how strong I've grown, look at that arm, will 
you ? " said Tom, though fortunately for his 
boasted strength, a porter did appear at that 
instant. 

" Where shall I sit ? " asked Josephine, 



OUT OF DANGER. 239 

hesitating a little before she essayed to mount 
into the antique conveyance. 

" On the first seat by me I have acres to 
talk about." 

"No, with us," begged Katie, " Oily and 
me ; I can make myself ever so little, and 
there's the trunk in front." 

It was pleasant to be really cared for, and 
quarrelled over, after so long a stay where " she 
was not wanted." " But I think I had better 
sit by Tom." 

" Of course," said Tom, grandly. " There's 
room enough to put the trunk under the seat. 
Not fine, but comfortable, Joe. I suppose it 
does look shabby, it did to me at first, but I 
was glad enough to ride after old ' Bill/ the first 
night I made his acquaintance." 

" You never told me how it was all settled," 
said Joe, as the trunk was finally disposed of, 
and the wagon moved on, Olive still holding 
the carpet bag, though Katie had claimed the 
veil. 

" Oh, it was too long a story, and I did not 
particularly care to be reminded of it at first ; 
I don't care so much now steady, Bill ! You 
need not mind him though, Joe ; he's like Obed, 
would l rather die than run/ any day." 



240 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Who's Obed ? " 

" Only think, sister don't know who Obed 
is ! ' said Katie, astonished at such ignorance. 

"Why, Uncle Peter's man, that picked me 
up that night. You ought to have seen father ! 
but Uncle Peter was on the spot, mother and 
the children were tired out, and gone to bed ; 
the boxes were not even unpacked." 

" I know," said Joe, "go on, about Uncle 
Peter." 

" Oh, well, he took the case in hand, and said 
when a fellow had done wrong, and was sorry, 
there was nothing like giving him a fair chance 
to mend ; but I don't think I ivas fairly sorry 
before I saw how mother felt about it. I say 
' mother ' now, almost always, I like it better. 
Mother and I are great friends ! ' 

" And father and Oily ! ' added Katie, who 
had lost the whole of the first part of Tom's 
communication. 

" Father's never cross now," said Olive, 
sedately, "but I hope you won't mind, Jose- 
phine." 

" Mind what, Humpty Dumpty ? ' ; said Joe, 
good-naturedly. 

" Oh, a great many things/' concluded Olive, 
evasively. 



OUT OF DANGER. 241 

" Such as- said Tom, cutting off a dusty, 
road-side thistle with his whip. 

" There's only Susan, you know, now, and 
old Mrs. Wise ! " 

" Who is she ? " 

" Sister don't know any tiling" said Katie, 
again amazed. 

" Obed's mother," explained Olive, " but 
Obed milks, and gets the wood, and all that." 

" What do you do, Olive ? " 

" Oh, I sew, and study ! ' 

" Study ! ' said Josephine. " I did not 
know there was a school within ten miles." 

" Yes there is ! and I go ; only think of 
that ! and Miss Ann says you " 

" Hush, Katie," cautioned Olive. 

" What does Miss Ann say who is she ? 
what does she know about me ? ' inquired Jose- 
phine, curiously. 

Out with it, little one," said Tom. 
She says Josephine don't like her very 
much, but I told her I did not care, I loved her 
dearly, and so did mother." 

" Who is it, Olive ? ' said Josephine, quite 
mystified. 

" Our teacher, Miss Ann Brown ; mother 
thinks a great deal of her." 
11 



a 

cc 



242 OUT OF DEBT, 

" She doesn't visit at our house ! ' said Jo- 
sephine, forgetful for a moment of all that had 
occurred since she left home. 

" Whv not ? she staid with us when she first 

i 

came, before Aunt Lucy did ; oh, you did not 
know she was there, did you ? ' 

" Aunt Lucy ! ' wonders will never cease, 
thought Josephine. " What brought her up 
here she hates the country." 

" S h," said Torn, warningly. " I'll tell 
you when they're not listening." 

" She isn't pretty any more," sighed Katie ; 
" and so cross ! I really believe she thinks us 
children always in the way ! ' 

" I shouldn't wonder if you were, most of 
the time/' said Tom, aloud; and then, in an 
undertone, " Uncle Hamilton's gone off with 
some money belonging to the Bank ; and there's 
a terrible time Aunt Lucy had nowhere else 
to go ; I heard father tell mother it was partly 
her extravagance made him do so." 

Josephine's face grew troubled ; she had 
greatly admired her aunt, and copied her man- 
ner as far as she could, at such a distance. 
" Poor Aunt Lucy," she said. 

" Mother said " began Olive. 



OUT OF DANGER. 243 

u About our coming for Joe ?" interrupted 
Katie. 

" Yes. that we, had better come, and you 
could hear all the news from us. But there's 
one thing/' and Olive returned to her secret 
disquiet. 

" You might as well let me hear it all first 
as last/' said Josephine. 

" We have to sleep in the garret chamber/' 
said Olive, with a great effort " you and I, 
since Aunt Lucy came." 

" Horrors ! ' ejaculated Joe, quite off her 
guard, and with a sudden recollection of Clem- 
entina's large airy room. 

" I wish / could sleep there/' said Katie ; 
" it's so funny but mother won't let me." 

" It's not so very bad," said Olive, humbly. 
She had been trying all along to communicate 
this dreadful intelligence cautiously, and had 
blundered, after all. 

Josephine said nothing. 

" Mother fixed it up beautifully," urged 
poor Olive, " and Uncle Peter says it's my 
bower." 

" A bower in a garret ! " thought Josephine, 
contemptuously. 






244 OUT OF DEBT, 

" Oh, Joe ! how you will like Uncle Peter ! " 
said Tom, opportunely, " won't she, Olive ? ; 

" Yes, indeed," said Olive, relieved at find- 
ing the worst was really over. " He lets us 
children do any thing ; and Mrs. Wise said, only 
this morning, that Squire Van Kanseller was 
like another person since we came." 

It was indeed a pleasant change to the hale, 
kindly old man, to hear the patter of those little 
feet, and the prattle of those childish voices, 
echoing through the solitary house, now open, 
and " swept and garnished" every where. It 
was like a new life; and he would have been only 
too indulgent, if Mrs. Bleeker had not set her 
bounds, and adhered to them rigidly. Her 
presence alone was a blessing to him knowing 
that she cared for his comfort, and felt that she 
could never be grateful enough to the only 
father she had ever known. It was a great plea- 
sure to see her husband understand and appre- 
ciate his open, honest nature so fully ; and to 
see with what interest the once world-worn man 
took the kindly teaching of the woods and fields, 
seed-time and harvest, to his heart. 

" It is almost time for the children," Mrs. 
Bleeker said to him, coming out upon the shady 
i: stoop," where he was romping with Nannie. 



OUT OF DANGER. 245 

" Yes, I suppose it is. Only see, Kate she 
walked from there to there, holding on by the 
rails." 

"Is it possible ! " said Mrs. Bleeker, holding 
up her hands in feigned astonishment. 

"And she can say 'cat' quite distinctly. 
Say e cat ' for mamma, Nannie say cat, as you 
did for papa, just now." 

" Yat ! ' lisped baby, holding by the rail- 
ing tightly with both hands, and looking up 
into her mother's face to hear her accomplish- 
ments admired. 

" Oh, you darling ! ' cried papa, catching 
the round, dimpled baby up in a transport, and 
rewarding her with a toss that sent her head 
only too near the sloping roof. 

" My dear Richard," said Mrs. Sleeker, with 
great gravity, "it is a singular fact, that all 
your children have learned to walk and talk 
pretty much in the same way, only you never 
had time to discover it." Baby's mamma looked 
so bright and cheerful, so like the Kate Van 
Ranseller that Mr. Bleeker had wooed and won, 
at that moment, that she came in for a share 
of the kisses that were lavished on the little 



one. 



" Uncle Peter has gone down the lane to 



246 OUT OF DEBT, 

meet them, how proud he is of Torn/' she 
said, as soon as she could speak. 

" Yes, Tom is doing remarkably well," and 
Mr. Bleeker nodded complacently. " I have 
no fault to find with Tom, nowadays. I wish 
they would come, I begin to feel as hungry as 
possible." 

" Do you remember how the tea-table used 
to wait, once upon a time, and that you had no 
appetite for so long ? Tell me, Kichard, do 
you feel quite satisfied here ? ; 

" More than satisfied, only too thankful to 
you for bringing it about, debt is a hard bond- 
age, Kate." 

Mrs. Bleeker put her arm within her hus- 
band's, and stood looking out upon the old lawn 
with a silent thanksgiving. The shadows of the 
elm trees played softly upon the grass, the warm 
summer sun lighted up the old-fashioned garden, 
with its tall clumps of holly-hocks, and trim 
borders of box ; the air was full of fragrance, 
and farther on the barns, new and old, told of 
an abundant harvest from the wide fields ; while 
the kine came up the shaded lane, to the slow 
tinkle of their leader's bell. It was a pure 
pastoral poem in her eyes ; this home of her 



OUT OF DANGER. 247 

childhood ; seen under all these pleasant influ- 
ences. 

Katie's shout of " get in. Uncle Peter/' was 
heard from the foot of the lane. Katie, who 
claimed to be Uncle Peter's favorite, was not 
going to have hirn walking up the lane alone, so 
she compromised matters, by suffering herself to 
be lifted out, and walking up with him. 

Josephine's heart beat very quick and fast, 
as she found herself really driving up to the 
" stoop," as Uncle Peter, true to his Dutch 
descent, always called the wide porch ; she was 
in a tumult of feeling, shame, gladness, and 
thankfulness to be at home again, all mingled. 

Her father lifted her out, and in another 
minute she stood encircled by her mother's . 
arms, with the kiss of welcome and forgive-- 
ness on her forehead. " We are glad to have you 
with us again," said Mrs. Bleeker, as Josephine 
stooped down over Nannie, to hide her quivering 
lips. 

" Don't forget me, Joe," said her papa behind 
her, and as Peter, with Lucy behind him, came 
racing through the hall, the family party was 
complete. 

There was a great deal to be clone in the 
way of sight-seeing, and before her bonnet was 



248 OUT OF DEBT, 

fairly untied, Josephine, the guest of the family, 
was called all ways at once. 

" Come and see my garden first/' said Tom, 
" that's the way I made the five dollars ; Obed 
took my things to market for me." 

" I'm going to feed my chickens/' said Olive, 
" you are to have them now if you like, mother 
pays me for my eggs. I'm so glad my ban- 
tams are out, just like the dearest little canary 
birds ; they are my own. Come " 

" Take me/' sued Lucy, who had not let go 
Josephine's hand since she came. 

"Yat tat," shouted Nannie, feeling very 
much neglected in all the din. 

Josephine decided to accept Tom's invitation, 
as she could not do every thing at once, and she 
wanted to ask more about Mrs. Hamilton, who 
was not yet visible. 

" I was up every morning before five," said 
Tom, as they reached his boundary land, "and 
did it all myself, with Obed's showing ; you must 
go to the barn and see Obed, he's worth know- 
ing, I tell you. How do you like Uncle Peter ? ' ; 

" He is a dear old man, he's most like 
mother, isn't he, Tom ; I feel so sorry about 
laughing at him." 

" They don't look much alike, but their ways 



OUT OF DANGER. 249 

are. It was Uncle Peter put this into my 
head, and I shall almost have enough to pay off 
all I owe, with rny potatoes, and all. For all 
Uncle Peter's so good, he told father not to pay 
it for rne ; he said when people owed him, and 
did not have any money, he let them work it out, 
and they felt better satisfied in the end, and 
remembered it longer." 

" What has become of Charlie Spear ? ' 
asked Josephine, reminded of him by this allu- 
sion to Rockville doings. 

" He's made off with himself somewhere ; 
his father did not do as ours did, but gave him 
an awful caning, old as he is, when he found out 
about things, and the boys say he's gone to 
California ; I don't believe any body knows, 
though, and Mrs. Spear you know, we saw her 
that dav ; she's almost distracted. Just look 

/ / 

at these winter squashes ! every one is good as a 
shilling, Obed says ! ' 

"But does Ann, Miss Brown, really come 
here ? ' said Josephine, who could appreciate 
flowers, but had yet to cultivate a taste for 
vegetable gardening. 

"Yes, indeed, mother thinks the world of 
her, Olive improves so fast ; you did not know I 
am to read Latin with her this winter, did you ? 
11* 



250 OUT OF DEBT, 

Mother says it relieves her mind of the only 
trouble she had about coming here ; schools for 
us there was none in her day, when she and 
Aunt Lucy went to Albany. Here comes Olive 
after us." 

Olive, who could not overcome a little awe 
of Josephine,, as the eldest sister, and withal, 
such a stylish young lady, had come to summon 
them to tea. 

It was a cheerful, social meal, none of the 
little ones being excluded from the table, under 
the new order of things. Uncle Peter, who had 
resigned his place to Mr. Bleeker, sat in their 
midst, and asked a blessing, with his silvery 
head reverently bowed, and his thin hands 
clasped before him ; and the wayward Josephine 
felt, for the first time in her life, how good and 
pleasant a thing it was, to dwell together in 
unity. 

There came to be more of the true beauty and 
poetry of life to her, in the humble little cham- 
ber, where she slept that night, than she ever 
would have known in the gay and busy world. 
Household love, and household virtues, grew 
apace in the young girl's heart. 

" Do you know," said Olive, one night, as 
they read their chapter there together, " I 



OUT OF DANGER. 



think this is like you are now, Josephine," and 
there was no flattery in the sincere, loving 
child. 

Josephine stooped down over her shoulder, 
and read : " The ornament of a meek and 
quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of 
great price." 



THE END. 







IS 1